2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Justin Zikias, Arizona State (W. P. Carey)

Justin Zikias

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

I am hard-working, passionate, and excel when challenged.”  

Age: 31

Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

Fun fact about yourself: I ran cross country and track and field at Trinity University in San Antonio.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Texas Tech University, BBA Finance, BA Spanish

Where are you currently working? ExxonMobil, Supply Logistics Advisor

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One of my proudest achievements in my professional career was the support that I provided to get the State of Texas back online and refueled after the winter storm in February. This storm resulted in numerous people being without power and water for several days, and I was able to help the planning and movement of motor fuel product to help get people back online. It was an amazing feeling to be a small contributor in helping the community get back to their normal lives.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I chose Arizona State based on the fantastic reputation for their online programs, being consistently selected as one of the top online programs in the US. I also like the flexibility that the program offered, not disrupting my full-time job and giving me the ability to complete assignments even when I was traveling around the country.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of being in an online MBA program was the flexibility and the access to resources. Working full time, the online program gave me the flexibility to learn when and where I needed, regardless of my professional or personal obligations. In addition, the online program gave me access to resources and programs that are difficult to replicate in a traditional classroom, and I was able to get hands on instruction in numerous platforms.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? For me, the most surprising thing about the online learning environment was the seamless user environment. I was concerned that an online program would be a significant deviation from a traditional classroom experience. After beginning the program, I found the online environment to be more productive, with easier access to resources and platforms versus an in-class environment.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? I believe that my online experience was very different from my in-class experience as an undergraduate student, but generally in a good way. I believe the flexibility is fantastic and accessibility to resources including faculty seems to be greater in the online program versus the in-person. I was able to have similar experiences of working with teams and was able to build lifelong friendships and camaraderie with my teammates throughout the program.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? The one thing that I would change would be adding more collaboration across different groups. I took an ethics class, which had a real-time check-in/ Zoom call with numerous students in the class. This was a great way to connect to other teammates and get their perspective on the lessons at hand, which is where I believe true leaning can take place. I would encourage online programs to increase the frequency of these live sessions, as I found them to be of significant value to my education.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? The online MBA has given me the opportunity to take a deep dive intro strategy and understand how and why companies compete in the way that they do. In my current capacity, I believe that this helps me to develop a better perspective on why the company makes the decisions that it does and helps me better align my thought process in helping to set and communicate the company’s overall strategy.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: 20-30

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Long term, I see myself as a leader within an organization, influencing vision and strategy and having an impact on the decision-making process. I want to find ways to leverage my experience and my MBA to help make decisions that have positive impact on society.



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