2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Kevin Neff, University of Florida (Warrington)

Kevin Neff

University of Florida, Warrington Online MBA

“Recent UF MBA Grad and Young Professional with passion for client success, marketing, and travel.”

Age: 28

Hometown: Tampa, FL

Fun fact about yourself: I have a passion for travel – I have visited every state in the contiguous US, as well as Australia, Portugal, Spain, and Brazil (twice). I even was a volunteer at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and am partially fluent in Portuguese.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Delaware – B.A. Economics and Political Science (’14)

Where are you currently working? Cendyn

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my previous role, I took on a heavy book of business as a new employee. While I am proud of how quickly I learned, I am most proud of how I accumulated and, alongside sales, organically grew a large book of business as a new Customer Success Manager (I believe I grew the book of business by about 15% over my first three or so months). I am proud of this because it showed my tenacity, ability to apply concepts from my MBA program, and ability to thrive in a fast-paced and constantly evolving environment.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I chose the University of Florida’s program due to the cohort model and its reputation for strong academics. I also considered the flexibility that the UF MBA provides and Florida’s strong reputation for delivering a high-quality education online. This proved to be very important as the COVID pandemic changed everything. As one of our professors said, we were ahead of the curve since we were already online!

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part of being in an online MBA program was the ability to learn a key concept in my studies, and then apply it at work the next day. I had the best of both worlds – a career and the ability to concurrently pursue my MBA from one of the best online programs in the country. Additionally, I enjoyed how the professors all made the material relevant to what was happening in the world. This made Supply Chain Operations Management even more interesting, as I took the course during the COVID-induced paper products shortage in Spring 2020.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The most surprising part of the online learning environment was the high-level of interaction with my classmates. With the online component, I was not sure how much interaction I would have with my classmates, as well as students in other cohorts. As it turns out, there were ample opportunities to network and meet other students. This exceeded my expectations especially against the backdrop of COVID. It is interesting to note that I went on the last University of Florida MBA Global Immersion trip before COVID hit. We went to Portugal the first week of March 2020 and it was a great experience that introduced me to other MBA students across other cohorts before our world completely changed due to COVID.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? My online MBA experience provided me with much more flexibility compared to my undergraduate experience. With that said, balancing a career and an online MBA program inevitably made me even more organized and focused than I was as a full-time undergraduate. In the UF MBA program, I typically devoted evenings and Saturdays (Sundays during Gators football season) to getting individual assignments done while using any nugget of free time to work ahead. I regularly met with my team, typically once or twice per week, and was an active participant in all group assignments. This approach to organizing my schedule helped me optimize my time; I could fulfill my work obligations and personal obligations while performing well in school.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I would have made the in-person orientation at the beginning of the program mandatory, as it provided great opportunities to meet classmates and network at the beginning of the program. Otherwise, there is very little I would change about my online MBA experience.

How has your online education helped you in your current job?  My UF MBA has sharpened my analytical skills while also giving me the skill set to understand how each decision impacts the business. Even as an individual contributor, I understand not only that my decisions impact our business, but I have a deep understanding of how and why.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: 15-20

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate goal is to start my own business from the ground up. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, which my education has furthered. I have several business ideas and thanks to my UF MBA, know the nuts and bolts of starting a business. Down the road, I see this as my ultimate passion and goal.


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