2022 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Kiza Miller, University of Arizona (Eller)

Kiza Miller

University of Arizona, Eller College of Management

“A Global Event Manager known for worldwide curiosity, seamless delivery and outstanding attention to detail.”

Age: 34

Hometown: Hillsboro, OR

Fun fact about yourself: My last continent to visit is Africa, which I plan on doing later this during my sabbatical at Nike.

Undergraduate School and Degree:  University of Denver, BSBA

Where are you currently working? Nike, Global Event Manager

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of my work surrounding NBA All-Star Weekend. Over the 7 years that I have been involved, I have grown the program from a single room block of 25 to leading all of the hospitality elements for Nike, Inc. It was important to not only work hard but also to gain the trust of every single group involved in the programming, which in 2020 was more than 600 people. I am so incredibly proud that I was able to create efficiencies throughout all of the programs. However, I made it so that no one had to worry about where they were staying, how they got to places, or where to get a drink after a long day. Instead, they were able to focus on their job and ensure that the Consumer and Athlete had the best experience possible.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I chose Eller for a number of different reasons: the ranking position, west coast, Nike school, and cost. However, the most important factor was that it allowed for flexibility. It was important that the lectures were recorded and I did not need to commit to a specific time to zoom in for them. With my schedule, I cannot guarantee for 2 weeks to be available at the same time – let alone 2 years. With Eller, I could fit the work into when my schedule allowed.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program?  Being in an online MBA program allowed me the flexibility of balancing life and school. I refer to it as ‘choose your own adventure’ because you are able to select your classes and work on them when it fits into your schedule. My job is quite unpredictable and with Eller I knew that I would have the option to make school fit alongside my career.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I was surprised how many opportunities there were to connect not only with other students but also with our faculty. I wrongfully assumed that I would work totally independently and not make any real connections. I am so glad that this was a wrong assumption and that I have created some really meaningful relationships that go beyond just the classroom.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? The online experience can be a bit isolating because so much of it is independent work, however, I have found that everyone wants to help one another. I feel extremely fortunate to have developed great friendships in this program, so my advice is to get to know some of your classmates, they have so much to offer and it makes the process better when you go through it “together”.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? The only thing I would change about the online MBA Program is to ensure that the material is current. It was extremely disappointing to be in a supply chain class and not speak about the Global supply chain struggles that were taking place at the same moment I was in class. It felt like such a missed opportunity. If we are in the program in order to build a better future, then why not take real-world applications and build them into the material and experience? This is much more impactful than studying a case that took place sometimes before I was even born. It is difficult to relate or to fully invest when you know that current technology makes many of the challenges in the case study irrelevant.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? My favorite moments are always the ones where I can use what I have learned in the program in my life. It was a major unlock for me to work with our Finance team and finally understand what they were asking and how I was able to provide them what they needed. It has always been uncomfortable and a bit intimidating as I have felt it to be one of my weaknesses, but now I feel prepared and better equipped to get them what they need.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? Not yet, but I am actively working on it.

Did you earn a raise during the online MBA program? Not that was attributed to the program.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: 10-25 depending on the course load

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? To further elevate Nike, Inc.’s services and experiences tied to major sporting events around the world. Creating best-in-class services for professional athletes, internal employees, international media, and global consumers.



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