2020 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Joshua Jones, Auburn University (Harbert)

Joshua Jones

Auburn University, Raymond J. Harbert College of Business Online MBA Program

“Social, travel-loving, BBQ-eating Disney nerd who follows the rules.”

Age: 27

Hometown: Birmingham, AL

Fun fact about yourself: I compete in BBQ cook-offs around the southeast.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Alabama

BS in Commerce & Business Administration: Major- Finance

Where are you currently working?

Vulcan Value Partners, LLC

Compliance Officer

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Being a Compliance Officer, you are never the favorite person in the room. Though, I feel my greatest accomplishment has been leveraging my roles in creating relationships with individuals throughout my organization. Compliance has their hand in almost every aspect of a business within the financial industry. Because of this, I have been able to foster many relationships and acquire knowledge in multiple areas outside of compliance. My current Firm has the value of “Serve others before yourself” and my role allows me to do that. I am fortunate to support many people that help make our firm succeed even though a client may never step into my office. It’s all about relationships and I feel this has always been my greatest accomplishment.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Searching through online MBA programs can be daunting, to say the least. There are so many to choose from and each has its benefit. Though for me, it came down to flexibility and value. From the start, Auburn made it clear that you can succeed in this program from anywhere in the world, no matter your schedule. So, unintentionally, I put it to the test. I started three new positions while moving across the United States twice during my program and I can honestly say, Auburn was the most consistent thing in my life other than my wife.

In addition, Auburn provided the option to get both an MBA and MS in Finance without any additional on-campus requirements. Both degrees have always been a goal of mine and Auburn provided the best value in addition to being ranked one of the highest MBA programs.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I love being able to take what I learn in class and put it into action the next day in my career. Being an online MBA student allows for an individual to juggle a career and an education (and more) which provides ample opportunity to put the education to immediate use. I find that I have a higher retention rate with the information I learn because I can see it applied or being applied throughout my organization.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? This is the first time I have ever taken part in an online learning environment and I have to say Auburn has made it a priority to make online students feel like they are on campus. All the classes have both the student and teacher wired for sound, so you never miss any questions or comments. Some professors will even answer online students’ questions in the middle of a live class. On-campus opportunities are made available to all, such as the MBA International Trip. This by far blew me away. I thought the program would be mainly pre-recorded videos and generic exams but Auburn has done a great job in taking the online environment to a whole new level.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? Alluding to my previous answer, the experience is very similar. Online students can participate in group projects with on-campus students and talk with professors as much, if not more than, I could as an undergrad. The professors have office hours available and set the same expectations as they would if you were in the classroom with them every day. This makes the transition back into school way easier because the experience is so like that of my undergraduate career.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? My experience, thus far, has been exceedingly better than I anticipated. As a result, it is hard to find something to change. Still, I believe online MBA programs could benefit by creating more opportunities for online students to mix and mingle. I know Auburn continues to open new opportunities for their off-campus students to build relationships and it translates positively into the program. I have been fortunate to take advantage of similar opportunities. I have found that it can make the whole experience more fulfilling because, in addition to an education, you are developing relationships that can last a lifetime.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? Some people view an MBA as just a “check-the-box” exercise in order to advance to the next level in their career. However, at least through Auburn, it has been so much more than that. I have acquired an abundance of information and new skills that I have already transferred to my career. From how to evaluate appropriate technology for current working environments to leveraging performance measurement in building out an organization, the list could go on and on.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I never thought I would work in Compliance. Now that I have, I never want to leave. As previously mentioned, I get to work with all areas of our firm, and my role changes day by day to what is presenting itself throughout our organization. I hope that at some point in the future I can leverage my experience and education to become a chief compliance officer for a major financial institution.

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

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