2023 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Robert Saylor, Penn State University – World Campus

Robert Saylor, DDS

Pennsylvania State University World Campus

“A dedicated spouse, father and dental specialist who happens to be obsessed with all things business.”     

Age: 54

Hometown: State College, Pennsylvania

Fun fact about yourself: I am an exercise nut! I qualified and completed the Boston Marathon and many triathlons, including a full Ironman. It’s an important part of my life and mental stability

Undergraduate School and Degree:  

West Chester University, BS liberal Studies

University of Maryland, Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, Doctor of Dental Surgery

Boston University, Certificate in Graduate Studies in Endodontics

Pennsylvania State University, Master’s in Business Administration (May 2023)

Where are you currently working? Central Pennsylvania Endodontics, Founder and Managing Partner, and Clinical Endodontist.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In August 2021, I was involved in a life-threatening accident where I was struck by a car while riding my road bike. I was unsure if I would ever practice again or be able to complete my degree (I had three classes to go). While I was unable to practice for the better part of 6 months to a year, I was happy to be able to continue to work towards my MBA at Penn State. The coursework and engagement with my peers brought meaning at an important time in my life and made me realize just how fortunate I was to still use my cognitive skills, even though I couldn’t work as a clinical Endodontist (a profession I love). The advising staff and faculty were truly supportive of my situation at that time, and I am so very grateful for that. While I may not be at 100%, I am doing great overall and importantly, I was able to complete my MBA and graduate with a 4.0. This, I am incredibly proud of!

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I grew up entrenched in Penn State culture, so I knew already from living in this community, that Penn State is just such a unique academic institution. While there are many online programs to choose from, in my assessment, Penn State delivers a “world-class” business education curriculum.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I have never required much sleep so I love the fact that I can work on assignments at my own pace, many times in the early morning. This fits nicely into my busy family and practice life.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I’ll admit that when I initially applied, I was curious how they could make the program feel like a traditional academic experience, where you have collaboration and accessibility to professors. They really did a nice job making it feel like robust educational experience.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? It was different in the sense that, except for residency, there was no brick-and-mortar facility to attend. However, I found this to be a huge advantage as a busy adult learner as it afforded immense flexibility.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Stay engaged! Interact with your peers, both in your classes and with the faculty. They all want to see you succeed and thrive.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? Really nothing with the exception that, post- pandemic, we have access to more in-person opportunities like courses either domestic or abroad where we visit corporations etc.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? It has helped me to examine how I collaborate with peers. Additionally, it also provided me the skills to examine the quantitative (descriptive, predictive, and prescriptive) aspects of our small healthcare business. Learning to become efficient in excel, having rarely used it prior to my education, has been super useful.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? No, but maybe I should approach my boss.

Why did you pursue an online MBA program instead of a full-time residential program? I initially was accepted to another well-known EMBA program that would have required me to be in NYC every other weekend. Due to my personal and work schedule, I realized that would have been too daunting. The online delivery of this degree was a perfect fit for me.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent on an Online MBA: 15-25, but I am super methodical.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Although I am a bit away from retirement, I wanted the ability to be able to still provide value, and potential income, should I decide to leave clinical practice at some point. I see that taking the shape of consulting or education. I am confident that my MBA degree and education will help me reach those goals.    


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