2018 Best Online MBAs: Katie Cockrell, USC (Marshall)

Katie Cockrell

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

Ambitious, hard-working, outdoor-loving, ENFJ, life enthusiast.”

Age: 29

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

Fun fact about yourself: I used to act professionally in television and movies!

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Utah, Mass Communication

Where are you currently working? MRM//McCann, Account Supervisor on the Verizon Wireless account

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One of things I am most proud of is being known for being dependable and hard-working. I make a conscious effort to do the best level of work I’m capable of in everything I do – whether at work or in the MBA program. Additionally, I was named as a “20 in their Twenties” award recipient for the state of Utah by Utah Business Magazine – that was a really cool experience and it felt great to be recognized for my contributions to business in Utah.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I chose to attend USC for the world-renowned reputation, high caliber of professors, and the access to the Trojan network.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part about being part of an online MBA program is the ability to do coursework anywhere in the world. For the first year of my program, I completed coursework abroad while working in England and France. The ability to attend an institution like USC and have the flexibility to pursue career opportunities abroad was a huge benefit of the program for me.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? One thing I didn’t expect going into the program was the quality of friendships I would build with my cohort. Starting an online program, one of the things you worry about missing out on are the networking and relationship-building activities. Luckily this wasn’t the case! I was happily surprised to find our cohort messaging each other daily, meeting up regularly, and developing lasting relationships.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? I’ve enjoyed my online MBA program much more than I enjoyed my undergrad in-class experience. Going back to school to pursue an MBA, I was much more focused with my goals and knew the skills I wanted to learn in order to better equip myself for my career aspirations. The ability to learn online asynchronously, while attending bi-weekly class sessions with our professors and cohort, was invaluable in being able to pursue an MBA and continue working full-time. I also felt more involved in my online MBA program – with the administration, professors, and fellow students – than in my undergraduate program. I attribute that to being one of 28 students in my MBA class vs being one of thousands in my undergraduate program.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Learn how to manage your time wisely! The great thing, and the challenge, about entering an online MBA program is that you have flexibility to do the work on your own time. No one is holding you responsible to finishing the work, so you have to be self-sufficient and self-reliant to know how much time you need to fully understand the material, complete the coursework, and contribute equally to group projects.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My MBA has helped me better understand the business, industry, and challenges in my current role as an Account Supervisor for Verizon Wireless. Our team must act as an advisory and trusted expert for Verizon. To do that we have to have an in-depth understanding of the customer, products, and solutions. The classes I took in strategy, cost accounting, finance, law, etc. have all helped me provide better insights and contributions to the team.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? Yes, without a doubt. It was one of the most challenging experiences I’ve ever done, but the information I’ve learned, the tools I’ve developed, and the relationships and network I’ve built are invaluable to helping advance my personal and professional goals.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I’m not sure what my long-term professional goals are; I’m open to exploring new opportunities and career paths as they unfold.