2024 Best & Brightest Online MBA: Jesse Pataria, University of California-Davis

Jesse Pataria

University of California-Davis Graduate School of Management’s MBA@UCDavis

“A welcoming person who cares to help find solutions for those who need help.”  

Age: 48

Hometown: Stockton, California

Fun fact about yourself: Married my wife four times, in a matter of five days.

Undergraduate School and Degree: California State University, Sacramento. B.S in Finance with Minor in Real Estate

Where are you currently working? F&M Bank of Central California

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Moving into a new role to help stabilize employee turnover after the turmoil of the pandemic and helping individuals find new challenges within F&M Bank.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? UC Davis is a trusted source for knowledge in so many industries. Davis is highly regarded in many educational disciplines. I knew that access to so many disciplines would allow me to be a more well-rounded MBA student. Their campus’ resources, support, and assistance would ensure that I could continue to work full time and receive the highest level of education through their online MBA program.  

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? Interaction with my classmates. Although our classes are online, we are consistently working together in groups and teams and provide support and help to each other. I did not work remotely during the pandemic, so I was a little concerned with the logistics of doing everything online. The resources provided and my experiences with my classmates made it easy to adapt and it became second nature to take classes from my dining room table.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? The friendships and networks I have built with other students. Although alone at my dining room table, every class felt as if my classmates were right next to me. The professors make engagement easy and office hours and communication are readily available. There is always someone available to discuss a topic in my courses.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? The education level and interactions with peers and professors feels like we are in the same room. There’s a strong connection with the classmates and professors. The online experience compares very well to the in person-experience I had as an undergrad. However, without the online platform, I would not have been able to attend Davis while I worked full time. It would have been impossible. I am grateful that this platform existed so I could get my MBA as an Aggie.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Don’t view it as online.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? It has helped tremendously! Every class has made me view things in a different light. It has helped bring change to processes and improve efficiency throughout our organization. It has also made me a better leader. The leadership and office dynamics concepts have improved my skills.

Did you earn a promotion while in the program or immediately after graduation? Not yet, but it is coming.

Why did you pursue an online MBA program instead of a full-time residential program? Being married with two high school aged kids and a full-time job, this was the only vehicle that could provide me with the opportunity to personally grow as a professional.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent on an Online MBA: 25 hours per week.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to lead an organization. The UC Davis Online MBA has provided me with the tools and knowledge to execute that, I just now need to find the opportunity.


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