One Of The Happiest Online MBA Programs On Earth

The University of Florida's Hough School of Business

The University of Florida’s Hough School of Business


Students clearly see the value in the on-campus orientation. Chris Del Campo (’15), a captain and pilot in the U.S. Air Force), is one advocate of Hough’s approach, particularly the ropes course. “It helps you break down barriers and understand why they do what they do. [You could see] people actually grow by challenging themselves.” The orientation also fosters community says Megginson. “You bond pretty quickly with the group.”

And that’s the point, says Sevilla. “We want to be sure [that] they’re not only are they comfortable with the content and the program, but more importantly are they comfortable with us and with peers and with the faculty and feel like they are part of our community…We want them to feel  fully connected to who we are at all times.”

Every four months, online students return to Gainesville to complete weekend residencies. Here, students take final exams, submit projects, and deliver presentations, On Sunday, they roll right into the next term, meeting with faculty, receiving their books and materials, and starting classes all over again.

Sevilla refers to residencies as “eight reunions in two years’ time.” With evenings free, Hough students are often found playing golf or dining together (which also helps them build a stronger network). “You’re working so hard with these people,” Sevilla acknowledges. “You’re immersed in their lives. You’re doing 2 a.m. conference calls, working on projects and studying for exams. You’re sharing who’s having a baby or who got promoted. [And] you’re doing all that when you’re not face-to-face. So when you’re together, you want to give [each other] hugs.”


In fact, these bonds last longer than the program says Megginson, whose voice lights up when he talks about his four-member team. “All of us stay in touch. Every Tuesday, we would have a 7:00 weekly call for 27 straight months. Now, we still email or quick call each other [at that time] to touch base, to see how things are going professionally but also personally.” Megginson adds that he still keeps in touch with a few professors and staff too. “They’re good people…very, very smart.”

According to The Financial Times, Hough’s online MBAs also ranked first in salary growth within three years of graduation (up 45%). Coupled with a moderate tuition, Hough’s ROI is among its big draws. “Look at it from a student perspective,” Sevilla says. “They’re not paying a ton and seeing a return on the back end with salary. That makes a good story from beginning to end.”

While Sevilla credits this success to “great students” and “significant investments” in career services (such as a full-time career coach for working professional students), he also tips his hat to the nature of online education. “We tell our students that, during this program, you have this incredible opportunity to immediately showcase what you’ve been learning, as opposed to a full-time student who collects all this knowledge and then goes to a company on day one and has to prove what they know. We encourage our students to look for opportunities…to ask for projects even if it’s not a promotion or financial gain at that moment, so people can see what they’re capable of doing.”

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