2020 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Jamie Williams, University of Nebraska

Jamie Williams

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

I lead from the front when the storm rages, but from behind in sunshine.

Age: 60

Hometown: Lincoln, NE

Fun fact about yourself: Besides reading superhero comic books as prep for a professional football game, I am surprisingly the first NFL player with dreadlocks.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: BA, Broadcast Journalism
  • San Jose State University: MS, Mass Communication
  • University of San Francisco: Ed.D., Organization and Leadership
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: MBA, International Business Specialization & Supply Chain Certification

Where are you currently working? I’m currently consulting and teaching for the Bulgarian Entrepreneurship Center (BEC) in Sofia and Varna, as one of its founding advisors, to promote entrepreneurship throughout all elements of Bulgaria.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Building the only NCAA athletic program at an art institution and winning championships (Academy of Art University, San Francisco), which defied the myth that art and athletics are mutually exclusive. Beyond the competitive prowess achieved, I’m ecstatic that an annual cohort of professional “artist-athletes” graduate each year to work in applied art fields like film, game design, advertising, fashion, illustration, and graphic design.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I choose the online MBA program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because it checks all of the boxes in terms of rigor, flexibility, IT infrastructure, advisement, faculty uniqueness/expertise, affordability, and (most importantly) forward-reaching curriculum. Midway through the program, I intellectually grappled with MBA-enhanced friends from around the country on topics like supply chain, business analytics, and international business. Let’s just say I quickly realized that I made the right choice.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of participating in UNL’s online MBA program is the ability to stay involved, engaged, and on-track with faculty and classmates whether I’m consulting in Bulgaria or attending a board meeting San Francisco.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? As a first-generation college student, I can’t express the number of times I got lost finding a building or questioning whether I should go to a 7:30 a.m. class in inclement weather. Though I enjoyed the interaction with classmates in the classroom, it was our informal gathering after class for pizza or at the student union that provided the most “academic” value. With online learning, you can obtain a classroom experience around one’s personal schedule and still convene with classmates via Zoom, mobile phone, or the coffee shop.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? The best advice I offer for students hoping to thrive in an online MBA program is to first find a program that is affordable and student-focused, with intuitive online systems that offer relevant electives and certification programs. Second, go into the program to develop one’s self in areas of both interest and weakness. This means taking advantage of opportunities to strengthen “written and spoken word” when responding to case studies and participating in group sessions. Don’t wait until last-minute on assignments. The instructor is the facilitator, so listen and learn intently from classmates from different fields and backgrounds. Most importantly, take a “Karate Kid” approach to skills that might be new to you (i.e. marketing, economics, accounting).

What would you change about an online MBA Program? The only two “enhancements” I recommend for an online MBA program is to either require stronger interaction of all students or invite industry professionals as guests to highlight the importance of collaboration in all industries. Secondly, incorporating aspects of “leadership” in all classes is essential, especially after the recent global disruption of international networks and supply chains.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? The online MBA program at UNL produced new strategic business skills that seamlessly combine my prior academic pursuits and robust anecdotal experiences into a worldview of industries. The online MBA education has given me the ability to analyze and provide strategy at the entrepreneurial level to the C-Suite of multinational companies from a domestic and international perspective.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal, which inspired me to achieve an MBA, is to coalesce all of my experiences and education into a content company that produces a variety of adventure and sport-related stories, including the ones I’ve created over time. In my opinion, “story” is what preserves the commonality of human experience, and in this, I’d like to help.

Don’t Miss: The Entire Honor Roll of the Best & Brightest Online MBA Grads of 2020

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