2020 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Nathaniel Kooiker, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Nathaniel Kooiker

Arizona State University, W. P. Carey School of Business Online MBA

Age: 28

Hometown: Hamilton, MI

Fun fact about yourself: I’m not a skydiver, world traveler, or a sommelier but I suppose I like road trips, traditional cuisines, and a good whiskey.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Michigan State University – B.S. Agribusiness Management

Where are you currently working? Herman Miller – Supply Chain & Distribution Operations Team Lead

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I have found that the most rewarding part of my career has been the professional relationships that I’ve developed with a wide array of people. I’ve had the opportunity to learn from some amazing people about not just business and leadership but also about life. And this certainly isn’t limited to those in more senior positions. In fact, I think that hiring and developing truly great people on my teams has been the most fulfilling aspect of my career. Giving someone a chance to prove themselves on the next level who hasn’t had the opportunity before, and thereby helping them propel their career, fundamentally shifts your mental paradigm on what it means to be a leader.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I chose the W.P. Carey program based on their fantastic business school & faculty reputation (with a strong emphasis on innovation & research), an extensive alumni network, and ASU’s industry-leading track record for effective education through an online format.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of being in an online MBA program is the unmatched flexibility it provides. Having the ability to maintain a career where you can put theory into practice nearly every day really helps to solidify applicability, especially for early-career professionals.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I was pleasantly surprised by the great relationships I was able to develop with other students hundreds of miles away. The program at W.P. Carey really pushes collaborative work with a core group of students and this is where a significant portion of the learning really comes from. A special thanks to my core group, Gold 6!

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? My online experience was incredibly engaging in that professors were seemingly always at the ready for email responses and video chats. This seemed to mirror the professional environment much more than an in-the-classroom experience as you were forced to lean heavily on digital communication methods. Also, it proved very beneficial that I could repetitively reference course materials (like recorded lectures and discussion boards) to reinforce learning.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? My strongest piece of advice would be to search out people who can provide you with professional and academic advice. Look deep within your network to build an extensive group of contacts who have business expertise and whose opinion you trust. It added immeasurably to my learning experience being able to reach out with questions or simply to have periodic conversations about current events in context to how they affect the business landscape.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? This is a very difficult question to answer as I feel the W.P. Carey program was stellar and without any major faults. If I had to change one thing, however, I would like to see some optional networking and alumni events facilitated by a consortium of business schools based on geographic region. This would provide opportunities for students to develop more local and regional networks.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My online MBA has really opened my eyes to how intertwined nearly all business functions are within my organization – and how that varies by firm. This has further reinforced the importance of having a wide breadth of knowledge and experience for future leadership. Also, the online formatting has exponentially propelled my ability to lead and work within dispersed teams – an incredibly timely skill to have in the wake of COVID-19.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My professional aim is to be the best well- rounded businessman I can be while utilizing my abilities to benefit society through the avenue of business. I believe that successful businesses bring tremendous benefit to our world and they will continue to solve a myriad of societal problems. I hope to help the business community make further progress on that front as there are always new opportunities for improvement.

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

Connect With Our Online MBA Partners

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.