2023 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Brooklyn Hiller, Auburn University (Harbert)

Brooklyn Hiller

Auburn University, Raymond J. Harbert College of Business Online MBA Program

“I’m a driven woman who loves to learn and am always working to improve myself.”

 Age: 27

Hometown: Fort Smith, AR

Fun fact about yourself: I am an avid traveler! I love learning, gaining perspective and having fun while spending time abroad.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management and Marketing from the University of Arkansas.

Where are you currently working? Chick-fil-A, Inc.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Making the transition from working inside a distribution center to working in a corporate environment focusing on supply chain through a wider lens.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Auburn has a prestigious Online MBA program. After some research, I found that the program is specifically geared towards working professionals. The flexibility offered in this program allowed me to work full time while pursuing my degree.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? Networking with a wide range of professionals. The Auburn MBA puts a large focus on team assignments, which allowed me to connect with peers and hear other perspectives on various projects. One of the best ways I was able to connect with others in my cohort was by participating in the study abroad program with other online students. The relationships I’ve built throughout the program have had a positive impact on my work and my personal life.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? How connected I was with other online students. Before starting an online program, I had imagined it to be mostly individual contributions at a self-paced speed. However, I found during my program that a mixture of individual work and teamwork is best for learning and real-world application. Auburn does a fantastic job of pairing us with fellow students based on time zones, and overall fostered a very collaborative environment.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? Being in an online program is much more flexible than my experience during my in person undergraduate degree. With an online program, I was able to work full time and most assignments were due on Sunday evenings, allowing me to work on them as I had time throughout the week.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Focus on time management. If you have upcoming commitments with work or in your personal life, most courses allow you to work ahead. Staying on top of assignments and managing your time effectively will allow for a stress-free experience.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? While Auburn did a fantastic job with this, I would like to see more opportunities for interaction and collaboration with other students and the instructor across all online programs. Online programs offer the flexibility and convenience of learning from anywhere at any time, but they can sometimes lack the social interaction and support that traditional classroom settings provide. By incorporating more opportunities for discussion, group projects, and virtual networking events, online programs can help create a sense of community and enhance the overall learning experience for students.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? While there were similar concepts taught in my undergraduate business degree, having a few years in the workforce provides you the context you need to be successful in a graduate program. Learning business concepts with experience in that field helped me to fully appreciate the content. I work in supply chain and was able to take supply chain classes for my electives in my MBA program. The content in these classes directly applied to some of the projects I am involved in at work. Many times, there were lessons from my MBA program that were brought up during meetings on the job.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? When I first started the MBA program, I was a Senior Distribution Analyst. During the program I was promoted to Senior Distribution Lead, both positions are within our supply chain department.

Why did you pursue an online MBA program instead of a full-time residential program? imultaneously continuing my education and professional career was made possible by choosing an online program. I was at a pivotal point in my career, and with an Online MBA program I didn’t have to choose one path over the other.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent on an Online MBA: Around 10 hours.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My long-term professional goal is to gain experience in different areas of business and maintain strong professional relationships along the way. I think that being well rounded is helpful in making high level business decisions and can benefit everyone in the long run. Also, between work and school I’ve found that strong relationships are key to success.


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