2022 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Cheryl E. Hercules, Boston University (Questrom)

Cheryl E. Hercules

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

“I am an independent, authentic, and trustworthy individual who loves to engage with family, friends, and colleagues.”

Age: 57

Hometown: Born in British Guyana, South America / Immigrated to United States (Albany, NY) from South America / Currently reside in Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Fun fact about yourself: Over time, people have asked if my profession was teaching and whether I was a teacher. During my tenure as a consultant, and informally mentoring others, I realize that I have been teaching for many years.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Boston University School of Management – BS – Accounting

Where are you currently working? Steven Douglas Associates / Business Operations Management Consultant responsible for providing innovative consulting services in accounting, financial services, business operations, and system implementation, to maximize performance and achieve improvements in the company’s operations and bottom line.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my professional career, I am most proud of my decision to leave my salaried position of a Fortune 100 company to begin a consulting career. I am immensely proud of this achievement because, as a continuous learner with a growth mindset, I applied the knowledge, skills and abilities acquired through formal education and professional accomplishments, to confidently engage clients and share my expertise and knowledge in order to help businesses reach their goals, by solving problems in a consulting role.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? The Boston University Online MBA (OMBA) Program was appealing to me for many reasons. I received my undergraduate degree from Boston University and therefore was aware of its reputation as a highly prestigious, accredited University. I knew the Program would offer me a unique opportunity to learn, network, and achieve interpersonal and professional growth. As a consultant, reimbursement opportunities were not available; however, as the program was affordable, I chose to invest in myself.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? The Program provides diverse, global context and frameworks to weave into current skills and experiences. I enjoy the opportunities to network and become a part of a community that enhances my OMBA experience. The curriculum is rigorous, and relevant to today’s current events. In addition, the format allows flexibility for students with full-time obligations.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? In deciding between an on-campus, vs. an online program, I was most surprised about the number of opportunities to network and participate in events. Student engagement, peer-to-peer networking, and mentoring programs round out the formal coursework. I have participated in numerous ‘extra-curricular’ activities as part of my online MBA experience. I was elected to become a member of the 2021-2022 OMBA Council. I currently serve on the By-Laws Committee, ‘whose mission is to enrich the overall OMBA program experience by representing the needs, and concerns of the OMBA student community, and encouraging and creating student engagement outside of the classroom to foster a sense of community. I was also nominated to serve on the 2021-2022 Questrom Academic Integrity Council. I am an Admissions Ambassador, whose purpose is ‘to serve as the face of the OMBA program and volunteer to connect with prospective students either over email, Zoom/Skype or by participating in virtual Graduate Admissions events’. I have been a mentor in OMBA’s Peer Mentor Program since its inception (Spring 2021), ‘to provide support to new students as they navigate the OMBA program’. I have also participated in numerous OMBA-sponsored panel discussions and programs to share knowledge and engage in topics of concern.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? My online and in-classroom experiences were both well-rounded. From the start of both programs, I became engaged in events, programs, and organizations. I thought I would miss this experience by attending online; however, it was quite the opposite. Enrolling in an online MBA program, with a global cohort, has given me the chance to meet even more students and get a broader view of the business world than I did during my in-classroom experience.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Engage with and build meaningful relationships with your cohort. Be open-minded to learning. Adapt to ‘new surroundings.’ Balance and manage your time accordingly. Be flexible. Take time to decompress when necessary and when needed. Do not hesitate to reach out for help from your team and program faculty and staff.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? One area which I would change about an online MBA program is to increase the number of required ‘Live Sessions’. Live sessions are synchronous, analogous to classroom attendance, led by the coursework professor. Live sessions are held to review material covered during the week’s content, engage with the cohort in virtual breakout sessions, and provide students with the opportunity to engage with, ask questions of, and receive clarification from Professors.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My motivation for pursuing an MBA was primarily personal. I wanted to further develop my leadership skills, learn new theories and frameworks, engage with teams, and develop relationships with a diverse team of global students – all of which I have applied in my professional career. Achieving an MBA has been my goal for a number of years, and when presented with the opportunity to apply for the Boston University online Program, I knew the time had come. Earning a promotion and/or raise would be an additional benefit; however, unlike the traditional employee/employer relationship, in my consulting role, I work under contract terms.

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

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My ultimate long-term professional goal is to seek opportunities to gain new skills and experiences, while enhancing my existing skills, in order to motivate others through ‘teaching’ and consulting.

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