2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Jessica Aguilar, Washington State (Carson)

Jessica Aguilar

Washington State University, Carson College of Business

“Jessica is organized, disciplined, and persistent when it comes to the pursuit of her goals.”

Age: 44

Hometown: Vancouver, WA

Fun fact about yourself: I have a small flock of chickens and ducks that my family raises as pets and for their eggs.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Washington State University, Bachelor of Business Administration BBA – graduated 2019

Where are you currently working? 3Cloud, Consultant working as a Microsoft Power BI Developer

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? What I am most proud of in my professional career is that I took charge of it by way of change. This began five years ago, and at that time when I decided to make a major career move and had laid out what I needed to do to be successful in that. One of those steps was get a bachelor’s then a master’s degree. I have accomplished both and in May 2020 was hired as a consultant at 3Cloud attaining the job I had hoped for all those years ago.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Washington State University has a top-rated online MBA program with highly qualified professors. In addition, my experience was so positive in my undergraduate program that I saw no reason to go anywhere else.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of being in an online MBA program was the opportunities to work with other students in group projects from all over the world. Learning to collaborate and meet deadlines as a remote team is becoming an ever more important skill to develop with our current business environment.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? For me, adapting to the online learning environment was easy. The only challenge or surprise that comes to mind was learning how to navigate through my classes and finding links to things such as Zoom meetings. I feel universities have done an exceptionally good job at refining the online user experience and I do not think there are too many unexpected hiccups or surprises for most students.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? When comparing my in-the-classroom experience to my online experience I have to say the one thing that really stood out was the dynamics of relationship building between the two environments. As a student, I felt more connected to my peers and instructors that I met through the in-the-classroom experience because of the opportunities to socialize inside and outside of class. On the other hand, in the online experience students benefit from meeting people whom they would not otherwise run into due to where they live, which for our platform could be literally anywhere in the world. Despite the interactions not being as personal online, I was still able to develop many long-term relationships though group projects and other virtual classroom interactions and these are relationships that I continue to develop to this day.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? The key to thriving in an online MBA program is to stay organized and stay ahead of the curve. Life happens, and if you keep ahead in your coursework your risk of falling behind goes down when those unexpected life events do occur.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? The one thing I would change about the online MBA program involves when course content becomes available to the students. In most of my classes, course content would not become available to students until one to three days before the class began. As a student, it was hard to know ahead of time if what I was wanting to do was going to conflict with an assignment or exam in the semester ahead. In addition, before each course began, I liked to spend some time mapping out each week to ensure none of my assignments or tasks fell through the cracks. I often felt hurried getting this done when I only had one day to organize.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My job is 100% remote and requires me to have the ability to work collaboratively in a business environment with people in different time zones both domestically and internationally. Getting my MBA allowed me many opportunities to build and refine this critical skill which I now use on a daily basis.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: On average, I spent about 30 hours per week reading, studying, attending lectures, and doing coursework.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to become a Principal Consultant working with the latest Microsoft technologies to help organizations realize their data reporting and development objectives.



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