2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Yuri Vanessa Cuervo, Penn State (Smeal)

Yuri Vanessa Cuervo

Penn State University, Smeal College of Business, Penn State World Campus

I am a passionate leader working in the healthcare industry guided by purpose and people-centered values.”

Age: 31

Hometown: Green Brook, New Jersey

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve seen lions in the wild of South Africa.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Penn State, Business Management major, Psychology minor

Where are you currently working? Johnson & Johnson: Janssen, Manager

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Becoming a manager in one of my dream roles before the age of 30. I’ve always said I wanted to work for J&J’s pharmaceutical division with visibility to strategy development. I am currently a strategic manager ensuring proper people, system, and process implementation.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Penn State has a great reputation with an excellent business program. I wanted to continue my education and needed a program that was accredited, which offered the right flexibility to balance work and school.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The flexibility.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? How easy it was to connect with people across states and countries. I enjoyed the group learning that each class in the program required. I felt this served as a great opportunity to not only learn from the program, but to learn from one another.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? An in-person experience is undeniably different from an online experience. However, an online experience allowed for the ability to balance competing responsibilities, while still delivering a valuable learning environment.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Diligence. To be successful, you need to be organized and conscientious in your work. It is easy to get distracted and an applicant needs to be prepared to set time aside each week to learn and partner with classmates.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I enjoyed each component of the online MBA program, and I believe that it has been structured in such a way as to ensure everyone receives the benefits of an in-person MBA program with the flexibility of remote learning.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My job is analytically-heavy. Continuing my education has provided me with the tools to not only improve my reporting capabilities, but to also think more strategically about the data that I am interpreting.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: ~10-15 hours

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I look forward to the day when I will lead a team to drive greater access for healthcare solutions.


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