2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Lucy Nguyen, USC (Marshall)

Lucy Nguyen

USC Marshall School of Business, OMBA

“I’m a senior marketing professional helping local, regional and global organizations reach their business goals.”

Age: 31

Hometown: Anaheim, CA

Fun fact about yourself: I am a PADI certified scuba diver and enjoy exploring reefs and wrecks around the world.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Science in Marketing from California State University, Long Beach

Where are you currently working? Upon graduation, I will be joining Amazon in Seattle as a Senior Program Marketing Manager for Amazon Business.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My career has been in marketing, primarily focused on the healthcare, technology, and education sectors. I am proud of the work done to help these organizations reach their business goals, whether it is a local organization looking for help establishing a brand to a global organization needing to pivot its messaging.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I am a California native, but started the MBA program remotely in South Korea, where my husband, a member of the US military, was assigned. I worked remotely as a senior marketing manager for an optometry company, but wanted to round out my skillset in preparation for what’s next upon my return to the US. I wanted a rigorous and flexible program backed by an excellent reputation, and the USC OMBA program met the requirements. The program has consistently ranked among the top programs year after year, with learnings that can be applied immediately to my work.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I appreciated that I could get a high quality of education from a well-respected institution while having the flexibility to attend classes from anywhere in the world. The virtual format allowed me to keep my full-time job and travel the world.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? Today’s technologies for live virtual meetings have changed my initial impressions of online learning. With my cohort logging in at the same time twice a week for our classes, we still experience the live discussions while being physically located all over the world. Our diverse experiences and the broad array of industries represented add depth to our discussions and learning. I was also able to bond with my cohort and alumni while abroad through informal virtual events and formally through USC sponsored events.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? I had an excellent undergraduate education; however, pursuing an MBA at this time of my life and in a virtual format has been a very different experience in its flexibility and accessibility to professors.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program?

Many students in USC’s OMBA program are working full-time and may have families and other commitments. An online program is no less rigorous. With only limited time available, students who have thrived are organized and disciplined about the lectures, readings, and assignments. Beyond group assignments, going through a graduate program together is a “team sport”, where students lean on the knowledge and expertise of the cohort and learn from each other.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? USC’s OMBA program began with an intensive residential week where the entire cohort would meet on campus to complete two courses in person and present in a case competition. This was a critical time for us to bond with one another, setting up relationships needed for team projects and future friendships. Many of us connected outside of class, but another university sponsored all-cohort experience would have been valuable in building those lifelong connections.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? Attending classes virtually has made the transition to operating in an online work environment very easy. More importantly, the program itself has challenged me to think more deeply about how I view the world through the linkages that impact a business.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: 30 hours

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To build a fulfilling, significant career where I lead teams and serve as a mentor to female professionals.



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