2020 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Jennifer O’Neill, University of Wisconsin Consortium

Jennifer O’Neill

University of Wisconsin’s Online MBA Consortium

“A dedicated and trustworthy friend that approaches life with compassion and humor.”

Age: 46

Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska

Fun fact about yourself: I have a true passion for candy. I would love to be a professional taste tester or product reviewer for all things sugar.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bellevue University B.S. Marketing Management

Where are you currently working? Valmont Industries, Inc.; Manager of IT Web Services

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the lasting relationships with colleagues that I have developed. Not only are they nourishing for the soul, but surrounding myself with such talented and bright people enables me to grow intellectually and personally on a continual basis.

Why did you choose your school’s online MBA program? I chose the University of Wisconsin’s Consortium program for several reasons. Not only is it AACSB-accredited and continually ranks among the top online MBA programs nationally, but it also provided an affordable and convenient option for me to continue my education while being a full-time employee and mom.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part was meeting, working with, and learning from my classmates and professors. Although the environment was completely virtual, I felt a real connection to everyone.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I anticipated feeling isolated or disconnected, but it was actually the opposite. I felt like I really got to know my classmates and professors – way more so than I did in undergraduate, which was the traditional in-classroom experience.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? I believe that the online environment promotes better participation and offers the flexibility required in today’s world. The rigidness of traditional in-class learning makes it difficult to pursue continued education once you have professional and personal commitments and also limits the time of active participation. Online participation can be done by anyone at any time – resulting in more in-depth and valuable conversations and learning.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Be sure you have adequate time to dedicate to the work, participate freely, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and (most importantly) enjoy the journey.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I would implement a standard application for efficient and user-friendly collaboration. Group work requires communication and teamwork outside of the classroom portal and it would be great to have a consistent mechanism (Example: Microsoft Teams).

How has your online education helped you in your current job? Every single class has been applicable in some way to my career. I have gained exposure to the challenges experienced and lessons learned from a variety of industries, as well as a better understanding of all of the components of business operations. This has improved my ability to plan strategically and fine-tune my skills in day-to-day problem-solving and communication.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I am still figuring this one out, but I am hoping to provide value to others through positive relationships and experiences.

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

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