2020 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Wes Pietrzak, University of Nebraska

Wes Pietrzak

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

“Faithful family man who likes to have fun and challenge me to accomplish new things.”

Hometown: Cedar Park, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I have completed 8 marathons and once did two of them 4 weeks apart from each other. To put this in perspective, a year after my oldest was born, I ran about a half-mile and felt like I was going to die.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Texas State University BBA Finance

Where are you currently working? Dell Technologies as a Finance Controller

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I was nominated and accepted into the finance rotation program at Dell. This is a three-year program where participants in the program rotate into a different role each year to gain a breadth of experience in areas they may not otherwise have been exposed to. I picked this accomplishment is because the year I was accepted there were only 22 people selected worldwide.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I chose the University of Nebraska for several reasons. I needed a program that was flexible so that I could balance work, kids’ activities, and personal commitments. Nebraska is also a BIG10 University that consistently receives good rankings for their program (Poets and Quants: #9 Online MBA Program of 2020). When I compared the costs of the program to other schools, I thought it was a good value.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? Learning new things about different areas of the business that I don’t normally interact with, meeting and working with smart people, and using new applications and technology that I hadn’t used before.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The connections that I have made with other students as well as the faculty and staff at the University.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? As an undergrad without much work experience, I would sit in classrooms and listen to professors teach but there wasn’t much interaction with students. The content made sense, but it was more theoretical rather than something I could use. As a graduate student with work experience, the concepts made more sense and were applicable to situations at work. Professors that had live classes each week were good about creating an environment where people could discuss topics and how they related to their company or job.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Stay engaged! If you have classes that meet weekly through Zoom, participate in those classes by taking part in the discussions and listening to other people’s perspectives. You can learn a lot from their experiences.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? For the programs that don’t offer an on-campus residency program, I would recommend offering one even if it is optional. I was fortunate enough to be part of the first one at the University of Nebraska. I thought it was a great addition to the program and one of the highlights of my MBA. Having a classroom experience, meeting the faculty, staff, and other students while being on campus really added to the overall MBA experience.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? It has given me a different perspective for the areas of the business where I don’t normally work. With a better understanding of what those business functions are responsible for, it opens career opportunities as well as the ability to partner with them in my current role.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Keep advancing my career at Dell and do it by finding roles where I can help people. Whether that is a business partnership, leading teams with a common vision, or mentoring people that are newer in their career.

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

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