Sarah Neary

Sarah Neary

“If you are thinking about getting your MBA, think about what kind of specialization you are interested in, then research schools that offer degrees in that area. Compare the programs, student reviews, graduation rates, cost, what alumni are doing now with their degrees and every other factor you can think of.”

What does a masters degree in business administration with a specialization in global management entail?

Generally, a masters degree in business administration prepares students to enter business in a variety of capacities with a strong understanding of different business practices. My specialization in global management specifically prepares me to work with different cultures and understand how business is conducted all over the world.

Even though I have traveled abroad extensively and currently live in Russia, I wanted a degree to back up my first-hand experience in different cultures. I wanted to be able to show any employer that I have done research in this area in addition to living abroad.

There are many options for students who graduate with MBAs in global management. One option is to stay in your native country and work with a company on an international scale. In this capacity, you could help that company built their global relationships.

A more radical option would be to uproot yourself and move to another country after you have graduated. But this requires a lot of effort on your part. You have to think about whether or not it is practical for you to live abroad, especially if you have a family, and whether or not you have the appropriate language skills to help you form relationships abroad.

What factors went into your decision to pursue your MBA online?

The biggest reason that I chose to pursue my MBA online is that I am currently living and teaching in Moscow, Russia. It is a very long journey back to the United States, and the only way for me to earn a degree while I am here is to study online.

But I also decided to study online because I am a very independent learner. I don't need someone pushing me to do assignments. I had taken online classes during my undergraduate degree and I really liked the format. At that point, online education was just getting started, so there weren't as many options for students to enroll in online programs.

What were the main reasons you chose to get your degree from Ashford University as opposed to any other online school?

I decided to enroll at Ashford University for a number of reasons. For 1 thing, they had a program in global management, which is what I wanted to study. In addition, the program was reasonably priced, which is always an important consideration. Ashford also treated me more like a student than a consumer when I first got in touch with them.

I was initially enrolled at University of Phoenix, but I changed my mind at the last minute once I saw their platform. I think that they are too expensive for what they offer students, and I was also bothered by the fact that you can't own the online books that Phoenix provides. You can only borrow them, then they take them back once you finish each course.

What were your program requirements?

My program lasted for about a year and a half. I was only required to take 1 course at a time and each course lasted for 10 weeks. I had courses that were specific to my global management specialization, but I also had courses in human resources management, organizational leadership and business law.

One of the biggest strengths of Ashford University's online MBA program was being able to access and complete your coursework anywhere. Once, I was traveling back to the United States from Russia, and I knew that I had an assignment due. On my layover in the Kiev airport, I got online and completed my assignment and submitted it before flying to New York. Another strength of the program was the price point. Ashford was not an expensive school to attend. It was not exactly cheap, but it was doable.

The biggest weakness in my program was how difficult it was to access and purchase the e-books that I needed for my classes. Sometimes I would have to order paper copies of books, but then shippers would have a hard time mailing to Russia. Amazon doesn't ship to Russia at all.

On average, how many students were in each of your classes?

There were between 20 and 30 students in each of my core classes. In my global management specialization courses, there were only 3 or 4 other students.

How were class materials presented?

Class materials were presented entirely online. Student logged in to the classroom and posted on the discussion board. We had many papers due in each of our classes, and this was the primary way that we completed assignments and received grades. Usually, we started a course by writing a 2-page paper in the first week. The next week, we would write a 3-page paper, then every subsequent week we would write 5-page papers. The final paper for each class was usually 10 pages long. I found the amount of writing to be overwhelming at times.

If you are someone who likes to write, this program is probably a good fit for you.

What were the most and least useful classes that you took?

The most useful class I took was my class on human resources. It is something that you can use in every position, no matter what country you live in, what company you are employed with, or whether you work for yourself or someone else. Human resources teaches you how to deal with situations that might otherwise leave you speechless and uncomfortable.

My least useful classes were in finance, economics and accounting. Numbers just aren't my thing. I also had trouble accessing the online e-book in my accounting class, and this delayed my ability to get through the course material.

Did you complete a special project component in your program?

I didn't have a special project in my MBA program, but I did have to complete requirements to earn a certificate. I had to answer about 100 questions in 2 or 3 hours about all of the subjects that were covered in my program.

Did you have an advisor to assist you throughout your program?

Yes, I had multiple advisors while I studied at Ashford University. In the beginning of my program, I only had 1 advisor. But then the structure was changed and suddenly I had 4 advisors, which confused me. If I had a question and was able to ask the right advisor, they usually got back to me. I only communicated with my advisors when I had a problem with accessing my e-books, and that happened once every 4 or 5 months.

How did you interact with your professors?

If I had a question for 1 of my professors, I would e-mail them or write to them on the discussion board. Some of them were more engaged than others. Some really tried to challenge students to think about things differently.

How knowledgeable did you feel your professors were?

I felt like my professors were knowledgeable. I never felt unsure about any of them or second-guessed their information. One of my professors who taught human resources actually traveled to Japan while she was teaching our class. She did a tour of a Toyota facility, and she was able to tell us about her experience. It was a good way to get the class interested.

Were you able to get to know your professors on a personal basis?

I was able to get to know some of my professors personally, and others not as much. Some of them were more open and told you about their lives. I did feel more comfortable with the professors who shared more about their personal and work experiences.

In your opinion, did the fact that you studied online affect your job prospects?

No, I don't think that studying online has affected my job prospects. Right now, I am teaching English and actively looking for ways to put my degree into more direct use. Since I just earned my MBA recently, I think that this is a very common position to be in.

I think that things are changing, and it will only become easier for employers to accept degrees from online schools. I remember an interview I had after I earned my bachelors degree at Drexel University. I took some of my undergraduate classes online, and I was upfront about that. There were 2 people interviewing me, and the older person was very surprised that students could study online and that it was acceptable. The younger person wasn't surprised at all.

Did your online MBA in global management prepare you for employment?

Yes, my online MBA did prepare me for employment. I teach English in Russia, and since earning my degree, I have been able to get the attention of private students who want a teacher with a business background. I had 1 student who worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland. She needed to refresh her MBA concepts, so she chose me as her teacher.

Based on your experience so far, is there anything you would have done differently in pursuing your MBA online?

I can't say that there is anything I would do differently about pursing my MBA online. I had a good experience, and aside from my trouble accessing e-books while living abroad, everything went smoothly.

If you are thinking about getting your MBA, think about what kind of specialization you are interested in, then research schools that offer degrees in that area. Compare the programs, student reviews, graduation rates, cost, what alumni are doing now with their degrees and every other factor you can think of.