When she wasn’t working her corporate job, Samantha Kim ’11 ’16 was working part-time in retail, renovating her first home, and training for MMA in her local gym. She knew that her busy schedule would demand a flexible approach to getting her MBA – Finance, and she decided JWU Online was the best choice based on her availability. What she didn’t know, she said, was that she’d make lasting relationships in the online classroom.
Here’s what she had to say about her online learning experience, as well as some input into how she crushed her academic and personal goals:
How did you first hear of the JWU College of Online Education?
I went to Johnson & Wales University during my undergraduate studies. During that time, I knew there were online courses. While looking for graduate schools in my area, there was nothing that would work with my corporate life schedule. When going over my options, I researched JWU's program because I loved being there during my undergrad. Upon additional exploration, JWU Online is where I landed!
Why did you decide that it was the right fit for you?
I work a full-time job Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, I work in retail—so I don't have time to attend an afternoon class, weekend class, or evening class. While most 9-to-5 employees utilize evening school schedules, I spend my evenings training at the gym. Therefore, my window to get work done was after 10 pm, so JWU's Online MBA program was the way to go.
What’s something that surprised you about learning online?
My first thought was, "Why is there so much work?” If you attend an in-person education program, there are the traditional papers and exams. With online learning, it was more work than I anticipated. It was well worth it, as I learned so much during the weekly discussion boards. Another great aspect [of this program] was how convenient it was to ask for help. The professors would get back to you right away on the forum, their response time was better than expected via emails, and even on weekends, they would schedule phone meetings if you needed to have a conversation.
You hear a lot about how online learning allows busy professionals to balance their career and academic goals—how did you fit online learning into your busy schedule?
I love this question! During my summer trimester, I was working full-time in the corporate world, working part-time on the weekend, and training at the gym. On top of that, I purchased my first home and did a full renovation during finals week. I ripped out the kitchen, flooring, closets, and broke down walls with my bare hands. Sure, I was barely functioning off of one hour of sleep a day, but I was able to get my schoolwork done! I worked on my course load from 11 pm until 5 am in the middle of the night. Last time I checked there are no colleges that offer overnight classes. I did my undergraduate studies in three years, and I had my heart set on finishing my master's in one. I did it!
What advice would you give someone who is considering learning online at JWU?
The academic advisors are always there to help you and provide guidance. Your professors are at constant reach with great communication. Last but not least, JWU’s reputation is more than enough to guide you to the right decision. It is a career-oriented university with so many different business majors. The options are endless.
Can you talk a bit about networking in the online classroom and the relationships you were able to build, even though you learned online?
I actually keep in touch with two of my very close colleagues I was enrolled in the online program with, one who worked on a group project with me. The other I was with in several different classes. Just because the classroom setting is online does not mean you can't build relationships. I was able to utilize my virtual communication skills via written tone and prompt responses. The possibilities are endless.
Can you describe your current career?
I work in Business Management and Governance under Operational Risk for a financial institution. As a business analyst, I am associated with internal audit and government compliance. When I updated my resume with my master's degree in November and started applying for jobs, I landed here in January. It was a great way to start a great year!
What are your career goals?
I love the company I have been with. However, I have no idea what team I would like to transfer to in the long run. I do know that I would like to become a people manager. There are too many bosses and not enough leaders in the corporate environment. I want to guide a group by example and positive reinforcement; not by deadlines and meeting agendas.
How long have you been training for MMA? Is your goal to fight, or is it just fun?
I actually started training when I started school! So much of my time was put into school work, and not enough time put into me. Currently, I have been training for roughly a year and a half. I specialize in Muay Thai and Boxing. My MMA academy hosts fights every few months. In the future, I would love to be in an amateur fight. Once I fall into a weight division I would love to win the trophy!
For more information on pursuing your degree with Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881 or email [email protected].