2018 Best Online MBAs: Sako Eaton, Northeastern University (D’Amore-McKim)

Sako Eaton

D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University

Good-natured, solutions-oriented, semi-reformed perfectionist showing others what they don’t yet see.”

Age: 43

Hometown: Lancaster, OH

Fun fact about yourself: Although I’ve spoken English all my life, people sometimes assume (presumably because of my unusual first name) that I’m from a foreign country and compliment me on my “almost perfect” speaking ability.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Ohio University, Bachelor of Science in Journalism

Where are you currently working? Nintendo – Technical Localization Lead

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m sure my greatest achievement is yet to come, but working my way through an MBA program while also contributing to the launch of the Nintendo Switch is certainly high on the list of achievements to date.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? My job often requires working long hours, typically revolving around other people’s schedules, which made conventional MBA programs impractical. The program at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business was one I could fit into my schedule. That doesn’t mean it was easy, though!

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? Not being required to be physically present for lectures, group projects, and the like was very liberating. I liked being able to contribute from anywhere—which came in handy during my business trips to Kyoto!

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? As with most things in life, what you get out of a program like this depends largely on what you put into it. With the way these courses are structured, there’s really no end to how much you can learn, if you put your mind to it.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? Unlike in a physical classroom, the amount of interaction you have with your classmates in an online class depends almost entirely on how much you reach out to them, so it’s up to you to form the connections that will become your post-graduation network.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Always do more than required, as much more as your schedule will allow. Not only will you learn more by approaching your coursework that way, but you’ll absorb the material better, too. (Note: That doesn’t mean you should write verbose papers!)

How has your online education helped you in your current job? I am now able to make decisions informed by the needs of the business and balanced by the needs of the various business stakeholders, which leads to better decisions for all involved.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? Although working through this program while also holding down a very demanding job certainly tested the limits of my physical and mental endurance, I would love to do it over again, even if only to explore the other concentrations in more depth—it’s quite a shame that we can choose but two at most!

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I wouldn’t be making the most of my degree if I didn’t seek out every opportunity to improve business processes in every area of my responsibility. I will consider my goal accomplished only when I have made meaningful improvements across the board.