Online MBA Students Don’t Have to Wait for Graduation to Use New Skills

Online MBA Students Don’t Have to Wait for Graduation to Use New Skills

In recent years, “work-life balance” has gone from buzzword to corporate priority. Employees increasingly value balance–and some separation–between their personal and professional lives.1 While employers and recruiters try to emphasize perks like vacation days and flexible work options, like working remotely, to appeal to this need, the prospect of adding school into the mix can still be intimidating.

Non-traditional students who have started a family or are looking to make a shift in their careers may worry that going back to school will be too challenging, or take time away from these other priorities while they are enrolled. Recognizing the lasting value of an MBA is one thing, but finding the time to pursue it is quite another.

Fortunately, potential students don’t have to choose between getting ahead in their careers and remaining present in their lives when considering a return to college. While the online format of Marylhurst University’s MBA program adds invaluable flexibility, the curriculum draws from real world issues and can actually benefit working students and their careers well before graduation.

Instant Gratification

Enrolling in any degree program is a commitment. While some online Marylhurst students can graduate in as little as 18 months, juggling school with a job can necessitate taking a little longer to finish. That doesn’t mean it will take years for students to have anything to show for their decision to enroll, however.

It is easy to focus on the end goal–graduation, earning that degree–and conclude that commencement is the most important part of attending university. Actual graduates of Marylhurst University’s Online MBA know that the experience is so much more than simply adding a credential.

“From day one I was able to apply a lot of the stuff I was learning in the MBA Program to my current job,” explains Christopher Coryell, an MBA grad from the Class of 2015. “So, really the entire time I was in the program I was taking what I was learning back to the office and my company was benefiting from it all the way and they’ll continue to benefit from it now that I’ve graduated.”

A practical curriculum can turn students from clock-watchers to active learners, getting hands-on with relevant lessons and real world case studies. Rather than school being a drag on their time and energy, students will likely find, like Coryell did, that they can turn around and immediately put their new knowledge and skills into practice at work.

Turning Lessons into Experiences

Online learning at Marylhurst isn’t just another by-the-book, question and answer routine. It is dynamic, worldly, and highly personalized. Professors work hard to ensure their lessons are not only relevant, but helpful to students in realizing their professional ambitions.

“There is definitely an entrepreneurial spirit woven into the curriculum here at Marylhurst,” says Shawna Dobrean, a recent Marylhurst MBA graduate. “Not only do the instructors encourage you to explore the business that you’re currently working within, but they also encourage you to seek out business that you might potentially be interested in.”

Further personalization is built into the curriculum through several elective courses students can select based on their specific career goals or professional needs. Even so, the foundational courses can still add immediate relevance before students begin focusing on their particular sector or industry.

“I’ve made some pretty significant changes in our department and as far as our systems go based on some of the strategies that I’ve learned along the way, those came from all of my general MBA courses as well.” said Coryell, who worked at a local non-profit clinic during his MBA tenure.

Building Connections, Finding Support

Just as every student has his or her own reasons for choosing to pursue an MBA, every student who graduates from Marylhurst will find value in different courses, experiences, and how they apply to their jobs. But there is one thing that all students seem to agree on.

“Collaboration definitely helped get me through the program. We were very supportive of each other,” says Leandra Taylor, also a graduate of the Class of 2015. “The faculty was as much supportive if not more of the students. We could call them, we could email them any time. They are very responsive.”

The online format may not seem like an obvious source of comradery, but graduates consistently attest to the strength of the relationships they built with their peers, and the role those relationships played in helping them stay motivated.

“That was definitely a sensitive community,” said Dobrean, who balanced work and school with her role as a single mother of four. “I think as students we kind of recognized when we saw familiar face and names within the program, and then just kept encouraging each other about how long we had left and how many classes…it was really nice that even though it was online we were definitely able to get to know each other.”

A Healthy Balance

While faculty support and strong student relationships can help tilt the scales, maintaining a healthy work-life-school balance is still an individual challenge. Making time for commitments at work and at home, for relationships, and for school takes focus and drive.

“Time management is the number one key element in an online program,” said Dobrean. “For someone like me, a lot of times homework took place after bedtime for that matter because it wasn’t an option working full time and having kids.”

The Marylhurst approach emphasizes practical lessons and strives to empower students to immediately put their coursework into practice. From day one to graduation, the online MBA program can be transformative, and ultimately leaves graduates with a set of experiences and skills they have already seen prove their value on the job.

If that seems like a recipe for finding your own work-life-school balance, then Marylhurst University’s online MBA program may just be the right fit for you.