2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Jessica Crowley, North Carolina State (Jenkins)

Jessica Crowley

North Carolina State University, Jenkins MBA

Love of learning is my superpower but also a spreader of joy and lover of all arts and beauty.

Age: 30

Hometown: Born and Raised: Rochester, NY

Current Residence: Charlotte, NC

Fun fact about yourself: My first job was working at a pizzeria and it was my favorite job ever! I wanted to own a pizzeria after so I could work there forever.

Undergraduate School and Degree: SUNY University of Buffalo, Business Marketing

Where are you currently working? Dole Packaged Foods, Regional Sales Manager

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My first full year at my last job I was honored to receive the sales manager of the year award. It was a major accomplishment for only being there a little over a year and I was also really proud of my accomplishments to receive the award.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? The offerings at this school aligned with my priorities and the culture matched my personality.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? It was learning so many new things that I found interesting and wouldn’t have learned otherwise. Being able to think outside the box with assignments and projects was more enjoyable than undergrad. However, I mostly enjoyed utilizing my professional experience to get a full understanding of concepts and ideas and seeing those examples come to life in the real world.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I thought it would be more challenging to stay involved online. Still, the lectures and different resources to interact with the class, along with the professor, kept online learning engaging. There are some great tools for learning that are beneficial whether it’s online or not. I was glad we were introduced to some of those new resources. Additionally, it forced me to be more digitally adaptable, having to learn how to communicate with teams through Zoom, Google, Moodle, or other creative digital avenues.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? Even though it was all online and I was in my home doing all the work, it felt less invasive somehow. I was able to watch lectures or read papers on my own time where I was comfortable, in a good mood, ready to learn, and focused without other distractions on my mind. It allowed me the opportunity to truly focus and absorb the material.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Be patient and remember to always be doing it for yourself and no-one else.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? Now that Zoom has become so popular with COVID, I wish more of my classes – the live recorded lectures – were held on Zoom instead of the blackboard resources we had prior to the Zoom boom. It would have been nice to see more of my classmates. That way, I could recognize more throughout the program instead of trying to recognize by name only. Classes would have also felt more communal if we were on Zoom and could see other classmates. I think it would have benefitted the professors as well to see an audience.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My MBA has really introduced me to a whole new world of possibilities. Throughout my MBA, I learned about roles I thought I wanted. After taking the class, I realized they were not for me and vice versa. I explored different areas I never even considered but found I was highly interested in. It also opened my eyes to possibilities with different companies. I ended up changing companies during my MBA because the classes and my professors helped me realize the different opportunities, companies, cultures, and leaders that are out there. I might have never known there were so many more opportunities and that there might be one better suited for me.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: It depends on the number of classes I was taking, but I would say 5-8 hours a week.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to run a team and be a Director or VP of a sales team.


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