2019 Best Online MBAs: Kurtis Williams, USC Marshall

Kurtis Williams

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“Passionately curious and driven to see myself and others reach their greatest potential”

Age: 39

Hometown: Lakewood, CA

Fun fact about yourself: I love to compete in Triathlons and long-distance cycling events.

Undergraduate School and Degree: California State University Long Beach BS Business – Marketing

Where are you currently working? SessionSync.com, Co-Founder & CEO

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Embarking on the path of entrepreneurship has been extremely rewarding and I am very proud of what we have created. Not only has it challenged and enriched my life mentally and spiritually, but the underlying social mission of the company makes all the long hours, hard work, and investment worth it.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Being born and raised in Southern California, I have always been impressed with the USC network, both in the business world and from a philanthropic perspective. Being able to join this network while having geographic flexibility as well as a schedule that fit my needs as a working professional made this experience possible.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The depth and breadth of knowledge represented across my cohort was incredible. Being able to build meaningful relationships and interact with my cohort despite being separated by time zones and continents is something that a traditional MBA program just couldn’t offer.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The thing that stands out the most is still how close we are as a cohort. The online learning environment did not hinder our ability to develop strong bonds. In fact, it brought us closer. In addition to our in-class time, we also communicated regularly via video, text, and WhatsApp daily.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? While we spent one residential week together at the start of the program, it would have been nice to have a secondary experience like this midway through the program. We were able to satisfy that need to a degree by organizing group events, attending on-campus symposiums and traveling to case competitions together.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? The information that I gained from the program tracked perfectly with the skills needed to start a business and manage a business. In addition to the material contained in the syllabus, the real magic and value came from the expertise and attention that all faculty showed in each of our careers and endeavors to support our success.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? In a heartbeat. Before applying to the program, I looked at it simply as a cost/benefit analysis of, “If I spend $X on this program, will I make at least $X in increased salary over time?” In retrospect, not only has this program already “paid off” but the deeper understanding of myself, my capabilities, and how that motivates me is priceless in comparison.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? The education and mentorship that I have received and the success and relationships that have grown from the USC OMBA program have ignited a passion in me that I wish to share with others. Becoming an educator and sharing the lessons I have learned would bring me ultimate satisfaction.


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