2018 Best Online MBAs: Kenneth A. McCray, Rochester Institute of Technology

Kenneth A. McCray

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)

“An authentic, selfless, mission focused leader, who facilitates the success of others to accomplish results.”

Age: 52

Hometown: Buffalo, NY

Fun fact about yourself: As a child, I wanted to be a National Basketball Association official and a ventriloquist.

Undergraduate School and Degree: DeVry Institute of Technology, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration

Where are you currently working? Head of Channel Sales and Operations for the Americas at McAfee, LLC, Plano, TX

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In 2012, I developed an Opportunity Registration Platform for the McAfee Business Partner community. This platform is currently in production today and has been adopted globally by more than 30,000 business partners. McAfee partners use this platform to register customer product opportunities.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I selected the RIT program because of the school’s reputation, curriculum, and program structure. I needed a program that would not compromise my position at McAfee and would allow me to maintain my customer and partner relationships. The program length and online flexibility supported and complimented my existing commitments.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I enjoyed working with the professors each step of the way. While the curriculum challenged me, I appreciated the high level of support and accessibility from the professors and assistant professors. These individuals had practical industry experience, were subject matter experts, and consistently upheld professionalism. I consider these foundational elements for the EMBA program success at RIT.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The program cultivated a higher level of engagement than I expected. Online video lectures encouraged consistent participation, while being part of a cohort team helped foster motivation and accountability that I would associate with a campus-learning environment.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The online program experience requires the students’ full attention and attention to details. I found that the interaction of the students each week in the online weekly discussion forums fostered a level of peer-to-peer collaboration and at times cohort-to-cohort collaboration. The online discussion environment magnified the diversity of the student’s and our professional experiences.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Approach the EMBA program as a seventeen-month project. Understand the resources available to you (i.e., the professors, the writing coach, the online access to the library and the university librarian). Pay attention to the project milestones; the start and end dates of each course, and the assignment due dates. And lastly, clearly communicate the progress of the program with your support group to help you stay motivated. In my case, my family and McAfee Colleagues were my support groups because they motivated me and helped me keep my eye on the prize.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? I have developed a better appreciation of other business units within McAfee. I have always believed in cross-functional communication. However, because of the qualitative and quantitative courses included in the Saunders College of Business EMBA curriculum, I am more knowledgeable of the key decision factors which impact the other departments. I believe that I am now better equipped to become a Level 5 Leader (Collins, 2005).

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why?

Yes, without hesitation.

The learning experience was invaluable.

The knowledge gained from each course is mine forever!

And the new relationships formed will last forever.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I would like to be appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of a Fortune 1000 or 500 company.



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