2019 Best Online MBAs: Duriel Holley, Drexel University

Duriel Holley

Drexel University’s Online MBA

“Securing freedom for future generations, one flight test at a time.”

Age: 39

Hometown: Fort Worth, TX

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve been 180mph on a motorcycle.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering, Auburn University 2003

Where are you currently working? I currently work at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company, in Fort Worth, TX. I am the Integrated Fighter Group (F-16 and F-22) Flight Test Operations and Instrumentation Manager.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my previous role, I was the lead flight test engineer for a US Navy F-35C fighter aircraft. In this role, I was responsible for the planning and execution of all developmental flight test for the aircraft. I was there from the first flight to the final flight of development testing. Most engineers don’t get a chance to see this entire cycle. I’m proud to have been there and be a part of the next generation strike fighter for the US Navy.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I chose Drexel University because of its outstanding reputation and rigorous curriculum. The fully online classes were a must have for me, as I would be unable to attend regular classes due to my demanding work schedule. Through Lockheed Martin, I was also able to get a corporate discount.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The best part of the program being completely online was flexibility. I wouldn’t have been able to make it through regular classes or sitting through classes all weekend. My work schedule wouldn’t allow it and neither would my soul!

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The ease with which I was able to collaborate and learn with my fellow classmates. The discussion boards, virtual classrooms, and team projects were great to get to know new people and learn at the same time.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? If you are not used to having to study on your own time, make a plan to study for your online classes. There is always work to be done, so don’t procrastinate! What are you waiting for…go now!

What would you change about an online MBA Program? The only thing I would change is the length of the curriculum. For me, I was only able to take one class at a time, so I was in the program for four years. I could have taken more classes at the same time, but that wouldn’t work for me.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My MBA has certainly helped me in my job. I understand a lot more of the business behind the business. I’m now able to look at financial statements with a true understanding of what I’m looking at. In my daily job, I think about how my decisions are affecting the overall business and the classes have helped me understand the economics of the business.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? I would do it all over again. I wish I had done it earlier in my career. The business insights that I have learned are helping me in my current role in ways that I never imagined.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term professional goal is to become the director of flight test at Lockheed Martin. In this role I would be responsible for all flight test for the company. When I retire, I want to have a house in a sky park where I can park my plane at the house and taxi out to runway whenever I want. I also want to develop the area into a winery and bed & breakfast with an excellent restaurant. In my free time, I would be a flight instructor for future aviators.


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