I joined my current organization – Liberty Mutual – in my last semester of college. I quickly realized my humanities degree taught me to read, write, and speak critically, but it did not provide the business acumen needed to advance my career in a corporate setting. I didn’t always have the right words to put to my ideas or to understand the business problems, so I chose to pursue formal education to supplement my knowledge gap.
Leaders in my organization value an MBA, but when I decided to pursue a degree, many still had reservations about online programs. As that was by far the best option for me personally and financially, I chose to pursue the gold standard in online MBAs: Kelley Direct. I appreciated the prestige of the program, the respect around the Kelley School of Business, and the live courses and on-campus weeks.
I could not have had a better experience at Kelley Direct. The people I met, the courses I took, and the formative nature of the program changed my life and prepared me to take control of my professional trajectory. I built relationships with people across the country, many of whom I’ve met in person only once or twice, but talk to weekly.
Kelley Direct is an absolute smorgasbord of people, including engineers, humanities majors, and cardiovascular surgeons. We all bring something to the table, whether it be subject matter expertise, a fresh perspective, or simply a strong desire to learn and challenge ourselves and each other.
The most valuable thing I learned from this experience is that you don’t need to be the loudest or smartest. You need to be a team player capable of seeking the best answer, looking for nuance, and being willing to change your mind when presented with new information. The future of business requires agility, adaptability, and empathy – and nobody can do that alone.
Every Kelley Direct course brought something to the table, but the standout is the introductory strategy class with fan-favorite Professor Will Geoghegan. He’s engaging and finds a way to make every line of every assignment meaningful – even if you don’t realize how it all comes together until you present your semester’s work as a formal business recommendation to senior leadership at a Fortune 100 company.
Being in Bloomington on campus with my peers working on real-life business problems was by far the best and most challenging experiences I could imagine. My first on-campus case was the first month I was in the program, and I truly felt like I brought nothing to the table but the ability to make a PowerPoint (and even looking back…it was bad). My second year was a complete 180. I could contribute, knew how to assess the problem, and felt confident in my recommendations. I grew in every way possible and I felt it in every team meeting and breakout session.
Even when not on campus physically, I successfully engaged via live classes. Being open and vocal in class set the tone, while being kind and flexible during group assignments established the foundation for many relationships. But it wasn’t easy – it took a lot of reaching out to people to check in, collaborate, and ask questions. Taking the time to connect with people required intentional effort, but it resulted in friendships that I will value for the rest of my life.
Throughout the program I went through several life changes: I went through a divorce and I was promoted twice, each requiring me to move over 1,500 miles with only my dog for company. For most of my time at Kelley Direct, I prioritized work, school, and staying healthy. I had a no-weekend rule, where I finished and worked on all coursework during weeknights or very early before work (exceptions were group projects!). This allowed me to make space for something like a social life, as well as a mental health break over the weekends.
And it all paid off. Halfway through the program, I advanced from a technical underwriting to a project manager role directly as a result of pursuing my MBA and MS in Strategic Management. I truly believe Kelley Direct is what prepared me to be the type of leader for which Liberty Mutual was looking. Visit the Kelley Direct website to learn more about what the program can do for you.