2018 Best Online MBAs: Vinathi Vemuleti, Indiana University (Kelley)  

Vinathi Vemuleti  

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

Self-driven, creative, inquisitive, passionate to learn, energetic, willing to take risks to drive results and make impact, and believer in giving back to society!”

Age: 40

Hometown: Currently in Dallas, Texas. Born and raised in India, came to the United States in 2000 for a Master of Science degree in mathematics and computer science at Indiana State University.

Fun fact about yourself: Got up one fine Saturday morning and decided to attempt skydiving!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Osmania University, Hyderabad, India, Bachelor of Pharmacy;
Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Ind, Master of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science

Where are you currently working? Wal-Mart, Health & Wellness Specialist/Pharmacist

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career?  My first job for the ISU’s Office of Information Technology, where I served as the IT Web support specialist. I was given the Sycamore Extra Mile Award after the first two months of serving in that role. The department believed that I went above and beyond to resolve issues both at the micro and macro level.

In my current position, I am proud to have played a key role in Health & Wellness team where our location has been the “Champion Store” in our market for three years in a row for meeting and exceeding profitability goals and offering excellent customer service. While delivering healthcare services, my passion to put customers’ interests first helped build life-long relationships which I consider intangible assets.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program?  I have always had a passion for management and leadership, and an MBA has been on my mind for more than a decade now. I wanted to attend one of the best programs in the country. After doing my homework, I concluded that there was no doubt that Kelley Direct is nothing but the best! I have visited the Kelley School of Business in the past and Indiana University in general several times and truly enjoyed the positive vibe and the diverse world class expert faculty that you get access to. Over the last 21 months, my initial perception became even stronger when I interacted with students, faculty, and staff who are more than willing to give you authentic feedback and support that is beyond belief. Once you are part of the program, you will truly experience the Kelley Family.

Kelley Direct made significant impact in making my future aspirations come true by supporting my passion to pursue an MBA while I went through challenges of caring for two kids, moving across states, and working to change industry for the better wholistic life experience of my future.

The program structure offered quarterly immersion and AGILE opportunities that give real world exposure and experience that a textbook cannot offer. Because immigration guidelines would limit my role and career growth until I became a permanent resident, I was looking for a program with a career center and strong alumni network, and Kelley School of Business has a global presence and network.

Though I am completing my MBA program in two years taking the full-time approach alongside of a full-time job, I preferred to have the flexibility to complete in two to four years if I was compelled to take that route.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The Kelly Connect Week and the Multi-Cohort approach impressed me the most. Kelley Connect Weeks, week-long on-campus programs where teams work on real business cases, either local or global, were very intense. They provided opportunities to think outside the box and make an impact, helping to build relationships with peers and faculty that will last a lifetime. It’s a program that’s so diverse yet inherently functional like a tight-knit family, starting from reception to closing.

In Multi-Cohort approach, I was fascinated to interact with people having unique skills and talents and learn so much from their experiences and areas of expertise. The AGILE and Immersion courses are second-to-none. A big shout-out to all my teammates who worked very cohesively while challenging each other to bring out the best team outcome.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I had never imagined the online environment would have students from such diverse geographic locations, industries, experience, knowledge, and unique skills. Kelley Direct is such an exclusive hybrid of traditional and online learning setting. While each of us are juggling with our responsibilities with support from family, friends, and colleagues, the immense collaborative support from my Kelley family – faculty, staff and advisors – made the journey of learning and experience very enriching, fulfilling and rewarding.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student?  The classes that you would miss in undergrad can almost never be replicated for you. In the online KD MBA program, the flexibility to catch up with the lectures that I could not attend came in very handy when working late evenings, though I did attend most of the sessions, as I believe in personal interaction.

With dynamically changing collaboration and conferencing tools, dedicated and motivated faculty, and staff striving hard to make this the best online yet interactive course brings out some of the best online experiences. With online interactive sessions, breakout rooms, and discussion forums on Canvas, my online experience provided the feel of being in a live classroom. Faculty enriched my experience by always being available to discuss, share ideas and taking learned experience to unprecedented levels.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Know and be yourself. Exercise your passion to make meaningful impact. Stay free from apprehensions, and never shy away or hesitate to ask questions. Be inquisitive to drive positive results and outcomes. Be open and honest in your work, and don’t let any opportunity to resolve a crisis go to waste. Get yourself involved and work for student organizations, enrich your experience with any immersion and AGILE opportunities.

How has your online education helped you in your current job?  New skills and strategies gained through the program have helped me come up with multiple solutions to resolve current business challenges at work and increased my breadth of understanding the business environment at a workplace. They provided me with the confidence to become a growth catalyst at work, which increased opportunities to make a difference at workplace.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? If I had to do it all over again, I would present business ideas and work with faculty to select courses with intent to drive positive outcomes in areas such as entrepreneurship, innovation and design thinking.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Own and drive a business that can make a positive impact in people’s lives and society at large! Kelley Connect and AGILE/Immersion courses helped me feel confident about running a business. I am glad my future goals aligned with Kelley Direct and am looking forward to seeing myself as a future business leader with a global outreach.

DON’T MISS: THE COMPLETE 2018 LIST OF THE BEST & BRIGHTEST ONLINE MBAS or OUR DEBUT 2018 RANKING OF THE BEST ONLINE MBA PROGRAMS IN THE U.S.