2022 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Richard Maness, University of Arizona (Eller)

Richard Maness

University of Arizona, Eller College of Management

“Globetrotter, athlete, diver, veteran, musician, humanitarian, and friend.”

Age: 34

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve cycle-toured (on a bicycle) from British Columbia to Mexico and plan on many more adventures in the future.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Purdue University, Bachelor of Science in Psychology

Where are you currently working? Behavioral Health Technician, Elevate

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I’m most proud of my time in the US Navy, where I felt my work served a purpose—promoting the greater good.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? The University of Arizona’s business school had excellent reviews from veterans and was highly ranked. Furthermore, I have considered relocating to Arizona and having my alma mater nearby would be a plus.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I absolutely enjoy the flexibility it affords my schedule. I keep myself involved in a lot of passions and having school in an online format allows me to parse out my work in a way that’s best for my schedule.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? As an undergraduate student, I took a lot of laboratory courses, so there was a lot more hands-on work. However, I think the biggest difference is the onus is amplified, meaning you need to be vigilant about scheduling and planning how you’ll study because you’re not going to the classroom and being surrounded by other students on a daily basis. So, with more flexibility comes more responsibility in an online teaching environment.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Planning, planning, planning. Use your calendar very deliberately and make sure you have your weeks mapped out with what deliverables are due and when you plan to work on them.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I am now considering a career transition, so I would benefit most from a robust job networking program (i.e., more job events, and networking opportunities).

How has your online education helped you in your current job? At this time, I work in healthcare in 1-on-1 setting with neurodiverse children. As such, the level of education I’m pursuing is somewhat above and outside of what is required for my position. An MBA, with such focused studies in economics, finance, and management will do best to help me in future roles in management.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? I have not earned a promotion. I’m only now beginning to consider transitioning into a new role more in-line with my previous management experience and MBA pursuits.

Did you earn a raise during the online MBA program? I am currently using the remainder of my Post 9/11 GI Bill Benefits from my military service to pay for my education.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: This might seem like a lot, but I dedicate roughly 40 hours a week on school—because I’m actively enrolled in four simultaneous classes.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My mission is to be an honest, empathetic, and impactful leader—building upon more than 15 years of professional work experience. During my career in U.S. Navy, I lived servant-leadership and developed management skills. While studying for my undergrad and now MBA, I further refined my leadership brand by working in business management, healthcare, and volunteerism. I want to find a management role in an organization that has the same feel as my military service—promoting the greater good.

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