6 Ways Online MBA Programs Enhance Careers

It’s all about outcomes. Why else would anyone return to business school? For working professionals, the MBA is often the salve for what ails their career. It is the rite of passage that proves they can endure the pressures and shoulder more responsibilities.

Higher Pay. Promotion. Impact. Learning. Networking. Status. Take your pick – those are the outcomes an MBA delivers. For Kurt Oettel, the biggest benefit was the know-how and credibility to make decisions instead of simply implementing them. A 2019 Best & Brightest Online MBA, Oettel serves as the Cancer Center Director at the Gundersen Health System in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Here, he oversees six departments ranging from Oncology to Infusion Therapy. It is a job that demands both medical and budgetary prowess. While his MBA at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has enabled him to master the financial aspects, it also conferred a greater relevance to him among this peers.


University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Kurt Oettel

“I’m invited to meetings I would not have otherwise been asked to participate in and my opinion means more than it did before I started this educational process,” he observes.

For many, the benefit of an online MBA program is convenience. It is a format where mid-career professionals aren’t required to put their lives on hold. They can enjoy a world-class education on their schedule – be it during a transcontinental flight or after their children are put to bed. Beyond flexibility, the online MBA is a means to fulfill their long-term career goals. That’s what the Class of 2019 has already found…just months after graduation, no less.

As part of the Best & Brightest selection process, online MBAs were asked to share how their online MBA helped them in their current job. From speedy promotions to better understanding the big picture, here are six outcomes that left the Class of 2019 better prepared to communicate their vision, lead their teams, and grow as professionals.

1) Create Better Opportunities: “I began my online education with intentions to move upward in my current channel within the business, but I unexpectedly discovered new interests and abilities through the coursework. My online education has helped me reach a pivot-point in my career to pursue projects and work that are providing more fulfilling opportunities for me within the organization.”

Eric Hensley, Auburn University (Harbert)

2) Accelerate the Promotion Process: “I started my MBA as Corporate Finance Manager and was promoted three times throughout my program. In the summer of 2018, I accepted a new VP role where I moved with my family to Ireland for a few years to lead the Global Resource Allocation function for our R&D group – my MBA accelerated my career by at least 5 years, I would say.”

Jaap Veneman, University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)

My path to my promotion has been accelerated as a result of my MBA program. I find myself bringing MBA learnings to my team constantly in a number of ways, such as team development, mentoring, and stakeholder management. These are the areas where my team has recognized my growth through spot bonuses and strong performance ratings.”

Jacqueline Elliott, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Carnegie Mellon University’s John Campion

3) Develop Soft Skills: “My online education has helped me develop a variety of skills as a naval officer and political science instructor. I have been able to use both “hard” and “soft” skills that I have learned from my MBA program. In terms of “hard” skills, I frequently looked to implement the analytical skills I developed in the MBA program. For example, I conducted a first-of-its-kind statistical analysis on characteristics of students found guilty of plagiarism over the last five years at the Naval Academy and then worked with the Naval Academy’s senior leadership to identify and mentor students more likely to plagiarize. In terms of “soft” skills, I used the organizational behavior research I studied in my MBA to reform the way my department interviewed and selected students for a scholarship program that helps a select number of students prepare for prestigious scholarships, such as the Rhodes Scholarship.”

John Campion, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

4) Ease Career Shifts: “I also used my MBA to prepare me for a career shift. I will be soon transitioning from being a US Navy Officer to becoming an Associate Management Consultant at McKinsey & Company. The concepts I learned in class provided me with the foundation I needed to thrive in case interviews, even without a business background. I look forward to continuing to put into practice the lessons I have learned in my MBA as I start my career at McKinsey soon after graduation.

John Campion, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

5) Become More Well-Rounded: “To put it simply, my MBA experience has allowed me to think more broadly about business challenges and opportunities. The wide variety of course material has provided a foundation to approach new conversations and offer guidance on multiple aspects of business. In my Strategic Account Manager role, I can now tie technology conversations with my customer to financial conversations. For example, being able to show how advancement in automation technology can save an organization a certain amount of time and money through financial modeling that I learned through my MBA study. This modeling has enhanced the sales process and been very effective for my customers. I’ve also enhanced my organization and efficiency skills through managing both my full-time job and MBA program commitments. It’s required maximum organization through technology and advanced preparation. This has further equipped me to manage multiple aspects of my job more effectively.”

Joe Costigan, University of Maryland (Smith)

Jack Welch Management Institute’s Megan Broude

“After completing the JWMI program, I can now evaluate situations and contribute to work in a more balanced manner. I apply the marketing, financial, operational, and strategic tactics and principles I gained from my courses. Surprisingly, one of my favorite classes was Business Communications and Executive Presence. Very rarely do you have an opportunity to watch yourself present to an audience. In this course, many of the assignments are submitted through video, so you can review your content communication style and receive feedback from the professor and your peers. The principles from this class carried through to each subsequent course and into my day-to-day life. Now when I give a presentation at work, I often think back to this course and go through a mental checklist. I’ve gained more confidence, better presentation skills, and more responsibility as a result of my improved executive presence.”

Megan Broude, Jack Welch Management Institute

6) See the Big Picture: “I would say that, overall, my online MBA has helped me in my current job by enabling me to more easily see the bigger picture within my company. My online education has enabled me to understand, at a higher level, the decisions and movements within my company that has led to deeper discussions with my colleagues and management. This knowledge has also enabled me to make more insights and to engage more with my company’s leadership regarding the future path of the business.”

Ethan Dollar, Indiana University (Kelley)

“I now have a greater understanding of how a business runs, which is different than how a physician thinks a business should run. It has allowed me to greatly expand my role.”

Owen Ellis, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Isenberg)





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