2018 Best Online MBAs: Diana Miako Aguon Hock, University of Florida (Hough)

Diana Miako Aguon Hock

University of Florida, Hough Graduate School of Business Online MBA Program

“Outgoing, enthusiastic personality with a diverse background and a passion for people.”  

Age: 25

Hometown: Shreveport, LA

Fun fact about yourself: I was a fencer for 10 years.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Louisiana State University – Shreveport, Business Management and Administration; University of Florida, Master of Business Administration

Where are you currently working? Wyndham Vacation Ownership, Manager of Business Operations – Leadership Development Program

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I work in the hospitality industry. While managing operations, I had a frontline hourly employee who was a hard worker, example to his peers and showed a lot of promise. Through getting to know him, I found that he had aspirations to be a professional dancer. Due to an injury, it was no longer an option and it derailed his planned track in life. He now wanted to be promoted and grow within our area, but was worried since he did not have a college degree it would hinder him. He was a little lost and did not know how to make his next step. We began working together. I reviewed his resumes and applications for college and provided interview prep and consistent career chats. Over the course of three years, I was able to help him and watch him grow into a coordinator level position, enter back into college, and then be given a management internship opportunity within our department. It was an honor to work with him on his development and to act as his guide and mentor throughout my time as his manager. I no longer work directly with him, but we keep in touch and I will always be there to help him succeed in any way I can. It was an honor working with Danny and having an impact on his career, but he impacted my professional development as well. He kept me motivated to stay at the top of my game and he made me a better manager for my employees.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? The University of Florida’s strong reputation for its business programs and its proven track record of high return on investment were extremely attractive. I choose the University of Florida’s online MBA program for the unique opportunity to also have a small in classroom component to our studies, while maintaining the online structure I needed.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My main reason for choosing an online MBA program was so I did not have to put my career on hold. I was able to continue working full time during the entire span of my program. An online MBA program gave me the convenience and flexibility to do my coursework on my schedule. If I had my laptop, or even just my phone, I could create a classroom wherever and whenever I needed one. I was also confident when studying for exams, as I could go back and re-watch entire lectures if need be. I loved how adaptable the structure of an online MBA was to life, which is constantly changing around you.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I was surprised with how quickly strong and lasting relationships were built. We had students in our cohort spread all around the United States and, at times, the world and were constantly working together in groups and on projects. We stayed in constant communication with each other and were helping each other – not only in our school work but our professional and personal lives as well.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student?

I found that in the online format, my discipline and time management were tested and heightened far more than in my undergraduate career. In the classroom, there is consistency and a routine that came about by going to the same classroom, with the same professor, the same peers, and (if you are anything like me) even sitting in the same seat every time. My classroom was ever-changing and on the go, just like my lifestyle. Contrary to many of my peers, my job during the program was not a traditional schedule of 9-5. I worked during any hour of the day, even overnight, and did not have consistency in my work schedule. I had to ensure, that no matter what my work scheduled called for, I was also dedicating the appropriate amount of time to my school work. An hour here, 30 minutes there, a whole morning dedicated to schoolwork was the type of flexibility I needed and what UF Online MBA provided.       

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Build relationships with those in your cohort, along with the faculty and the administrative staff. These relationships will help you maintain your motivation, see a more holistic view of the business world, and allow you to deeply immerse yourself in the program to get the same type of fulfillment a fulltime student receives. When I began as an online student, I thought it would be just me powering through on my own and I could not have been more wrong. I had a large network of people I was learning and growing from who would make sure I succeeded.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? Prior to my online MBA education, I had a narrow viewpoint of the business world, being that I had majority worked in Hospitality Operations. I have now transitioned, thanks to the help I received from my university’s career service center, to a position within hospitality but working from their corporate headquarters. Instead of bringing my level of expertise in just running front line operations, I have gained a broad perspective of the business world and have a far more holistic viewpoint.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? Absolutely. After gaining some real world work experience, choosing to return to school and get my MBA has already proved beneficial. I knew going into it, it would be a challenging two years, but it was worth the knowledge I would gain. Without my MBA, I would not be prepared properly for the next steps in my career and have accelerated my path by taking the time to learn necessary tools to be successful in business.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Long-term, I would like to be considered a known expert in my field and act as a high level influencer in the hospitality industry. I would like to create impact in listening and responding to those within my organization to create a healthy and balanced company culture. My long term goals are more so self-fulfillment over title or salary. I want to always arrive to work and feel passionate about what I accomplish.


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