2023 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Belle Chou, Indiana University (Kelley)

Belle Chou

Kelley Direct Online MBA Program, Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business

“I am a multifaceted leader with a heart of gold and a vision for success.”

Age: 54

Hometown: Originally Taipei, Taiwan; Currently, Danville, California.

Fun fact about yourself: I am a certified animal enthusiast with a furry and feathery family that puts Old MacDonald’s farm to shame – 10 dogs, three cats, a Cockatoo and a precious pet pig! And that’s not all; I have three daughters who keep things extra lively. With a house full of so much love, fur, feathers, and oinks, we could star in our own reality TV shows.

Undergraduate School and Degree: The University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, B.S. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing and Finance.

Where are you currently working? President of SW Sustainability Solutions Inc. and SW Technologies Inc.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As an inventor who consistently files one to two patents annually, I’ve amassed a considerable portfolio of U.S. and international patents. Recently, I was honored to receive the prestigious 2023 Enterprising Women of the Year award. My company’s commitment to CSR and sustainability was recognized with six awards in the relevant categories last year. The experience of being recognized for my hard work is humbling and inspiring, prompting me to reflect on the challenges and triumphs that brought me here. Ultimately, I credit the success of my ventures to the exceptional team of individuals who have supported me along the way, providing me with the drive and purpose to keep innovating and creating new solutions.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I decided to pursue my MBA at Indiana University due to its prestigious reputation and flexibility, as I am a full-time business owner who travels extensively. The Kelley Direct program, taught by the same faculty as the in-residence program, has garnered top rankings from many ranking institutions. I was particularly impressed by the program’s prompt response to my application, which demonstrated its commitment to providing excellent service and support to its students. From the start, I felt welcome and supported in my search for an MBA program. In addition to its No. 1 ranking, I was impressed by the program’s experiential approach to learning, which includes campus, domestic, and global immersions. The program’s commitment to academic excellence and diversity also resonated with me, and I am thrilled to be part of such a dynamic and forward-thinking community of learners.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I am a big fan of the Kelley Direct Program’s asynchronous video lectures, assigned readings, and homework. This allowed me to work at my own pace and prepare for class when it’s most convenient. With an outstanding faculty and innovative online format, the Kelley Direct program provides a stimulating and dynamic learning environment that fosters engaging class discussions with talented peers from diverse backgrounds. This, combined with the program’s asynchronous video lectures and assignments, makes learning accessible and enjoyable. I am constantly impressed by the expertise and dedication of the professors and the quality of the educational experience they provide.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I was pleasantly surprised by the strong sense of camaraderie and social connection among students and faculty in the Kelley Direct program. Despite the online format, the faculty is easily accessible and always willing to help, making connecting and engaging with them easy. I never felt like I was taking an isolated course or missing out on the benefits of a traditional classroom setting. The program’s emphasis on building strong relationships among students and faculty is a testament to their commitment to providing a supportive and collaborative learning environment.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The Kelley Direct program provides a challenging and intellectually stimulating learning experience through its rigorous courses. However, what sets it apart is the innovative online technology that allows me to learn and advance at my own pace, providing the flexibility I need to manage my busy schedule as a full-time professional. By balancing my coursework and my job responsibilities, I can maximize my productivity and make the most out of my educational experience.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? To make the most of the online MBA program, it is crucial to master the art of pre-planning your schedule, taking full advantage of the resources the school offers, and (most importantly) enjoying every moment of the journey. One way to fully immerse yourself in the program is to create and nurture relationships from the outset. Take time to get to know your cohort and try to connect with them offline. Additionally, seize the opportunity to participate in at least one domestic or global immersion, as this can offer a truly enriching and transformative experience.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I greatly appreciate the online MBA program, but there is room for improvement. Specifically, I would like to see the local chapter and its lead person’s contact information made more readily available and for more regular meetings to be held.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? Returning to school to pursue my MBA was a crucial investment in my entrepreneurial career. It compelled me to consider how I could strategically improve my organization’s business approach. The guidance and interactions with professors have boosted my confidence and given me the clarity to lead my companies to the next level of success. Moreover, the opportunity to share and learn from the experiences of my peers has been invaluable in gaining fresh perspectives on industry trends and tackling common business challenges. The collaborative learning environment has been instrumental in helping me to develop my skills and expand my knowledge base.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? Not applicable

Why did you pursue an online MBA program instead of a full-time residential program? I chose to pursue an online MBA program because flexibility is my major priority. Studying and completing coursework on my own schedule is crucial in balancing my personal, professional, and academic life. With an online program, I can better manage my time and maximize my productivity without sacrificing the quality of my education.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent on an Online MBA: 10-20 hours per week

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I strive to be a positive influencer, increasing awareness and education on sustainable solutions in the hand protection industry. As a committed leader, I aim to help people reach their full potential and establish an innovative business culture that benefits all stakeholders’ success.


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