2018 Best Online MBAs: April R. Wisebaker, Syracuse University (Whitman)

April R. Wisebaker

Syracuse University, Whitman School

I am an independent, kind, energetic, funny geologist who enjoys learning and loves to travel.”

Age: 35

Hometown: Tiffin, Ohio

Fun fact about yourself: I have been a volunteer at The Alaska Zoo for three years.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Bachelor of Science, Geological Sciences, Wright State University, Dayton, OH (Nov 2005)

Bachelor of Arts, Earth & Life Sciences Education, Wright State University, Dayton, OH (Nov 2005)

Master of Science, Geology, Wright State University, Dayton, OH (June 2008)

Where are you currently working? Schlumberger Oilfield Services, Senior Well Placement Engineer (Anchorage, Alaska)

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was part of a team that earned internal global recognition in my company through a program called Performed by Schlumberger. Out of hundreds of projects submitted by employees around the world, ten are chosen by upper management to move onto the final round of voting by the entire company. Only three projects globally are selected for a Gold Award, of which we won. This achievement illustrates the importance of teamwork to offer superior service to clients.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I enjoyed the structure of online live sessions combined with offline pre-recorded lectures and in-person residencies. The residencies, in particular, interested me as I do enjoy traveling. Through Syracuse’s online MBA program, I was able to travel to Dublin, Ireland, and Lima, Peru, and gain insights from an international business perspective.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? It allowed me to earn my MBA from a great university while living in a fairly remote region, all while working the odd hours required of the oilfield. I was even able to call into classes from anywhere, including while on cruises, so I would not fall behind in my studies while living my life.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? An online environment is no easier than an in-the-classroom environment.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The experience was very comparable; you become friends with your classmates, engage in meaningful discussions with the class and professor, and receive one-on-one support from your professor as needed.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Just like an in-class environment, it is important to not fall behind in assignments.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? The industry I work in is well-known to be cyclical; having a better understanding of management has made me more valuable to my company and offered a bit of a ‘shield’ from the current oil industry downturn. It has also allowed for me to better communicate with clients about their projects, looking at them from a perspective of a manager and not just as a geologist.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? I absolutely would; the experience is going to help me further my career and makes me a greater asset to my company. It was difficult to balance working 60+ hour weeks while taking classes, but I know it will allow me to achieve my goals.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I am planning to move into the management side of my company in the near future, and hope to eventually become involved in the training and development of employees globally.



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