Student Experience Q&A

Hear about our Online MBA students' unique journeys in a series of student experience Q&A's.

From their initial search for the perfect program to fit their needs to their online experience, and from their networking opportunities in the program to the lessons they have brought to their current roles, no two stories are exactly alike. But as you'll see, there are still similarities in the experiences that all our Online MBA students share.

Click on the student's photo below to read their full Q&A.

Sarena Bui, '20, Online MBA

Role & Company: Client Insights Analyst, IRi
Location: Greater Seattle Area

1. Please describe where you were in your career when you first considered getting an MBA. What were you looking for in an MBA program?

When I first thought about getting my MBA, I had just found out that I was going to be in the market for a new client. The transition period between my clients was about six months, and I spent the first two months of my transitional period thinking about where I saw my career five years down the line. I have always been interested in being a brand manager, and in order to do so, I would need to get my MBA.

In an MBA program, I was looking for flexibility because I don't always know who my next client is going to be and I wanted the opportunity to be able to move if needed. When applying to undergraduate schools, SCU was at the top of my list, but at the time it didn't work out. When I found out that SCU had an Online MBA program, I knew that this was my opportunity to fulfill my dreams of becoming a Bronco!

2. Please describe your experience with the SCU Online MBA program.

I have had a great experience with this program, and what I have enjoyed most is being able to collaborate with others. Since joining the program, I have been able to network with other classmates that work at various Silicon Valley companies. The program has facilitated my networking experience by providing multiple group projects where you get an opportunity to work with someone you may not have worked with before, and learn more about them and their background.

I recently moved out of Silicon Valley, and I still feel very involved with my cohort. Group projects and collaboration with others happens in every course, and the camaraderie between the professors and students really shows how engaged the professors are and how dedicated they are to students' success.

3. How have you been able to incorporate learnings from the program into your work?

Learning in this program is very hands-on, and I think being able to absorb something from a PowerPoint in class and then later that week actually apply it in a project or assignment at work really helps the modules come full circle!

For example, in one of the marketing classes that we took at the beginning of the program, there was a case study provided every week. We had to read the study and come up with a solution to the problem that was posed. This was great practice for my everyday role, and I found the different case studies helpful for understanding how to brainstorm solutions and propose them to my clients.

Charlie Hunts, '20, Online MBA

Role & Company: Marketing Manager, Oakland Athletics
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

1. Please describe where you were in your career when you first considered getting an MBA. What were you looking for in an MBA program?

When I started considering an MBA, I was working in a very specialized field at an associate level in marketing. I wanted to hone leadership skills that could take teams to the next level in innovation, morale, and creativity. To do that, I needed an MBA program that had a fantastic reputation in the Bay Area and was nimble enough to flex around my unusual work schedule in sports.

2. Please describe your experience with the SCU Online MBA program.

I went in thinking I was only going to study marketing but ended up loving the leadership courses enough to change my concentration. SCU makes an effort to make the online cohorts feel as much a part of the school as the on-ground students.

3. How have you been able to incorporate learnings from the program into your work?

Frankly, the residency course taken in our first weekend of the program stood out the most. Our professors were so dynamic and the leadership lessons set the tone for the rest of the program. I was able to take learnings from that as well as business communications and quickly make use of what I learned at work the next day.

Also, members of my cohort are from all different industries in Silicon Valley. Just interacting with them has opened a range of possibilities.

Robert Woblesky, '21, Online MBA

Role & Company: Sr. Business Solutions Analyst, Adobe
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

1. Please describe where you were in your career when you first considered getting an MBA. What were you looking for in an MBA program?

My love and passion for technology brought me to a career in IT. Over the years I had picked up many technical skills, but I was lacking the well-rounded business acumen to continue growing my career. Building the technical skills felt straightforward, but trying to understand what the business really needed was a lot more complex. I wanted an MBA to move out of a technical role and into a leadership role, directly working with management to help grow Adobe's business. I wanted to be able to directly contribute to the plans and decisions needed to drive our growth. I wanted an MBA program that was respected in the industry and I knew that with SCU's prestige in Silicon Valley, I could feel confident that companies would be confident in my education. I knew I could trust SCU to deliver a world-class MBA.

2. Please describe your experience with the SCU Online MBA program.

The experience online has been wonderful so far. I was originally a little worried about going online, but the online learning platform, professors, and students deliver an exceptional experience. I genuinely feel connected to my fellow students, and have even managed to turn some into friends. Conversations with professors have been incredible, showing me how truly experienced and talented the faculty is at SCU. Furthermore, I have genuinely enjoyed the course content thus far and I feel that I am already getting a return on my investment for the MBA. The course content is deep and directly applicable to the realities of the business world. I was hoping for a world-class education from the MBA program and the Online MBA has exceeded my expectations.

3. How have you been able to incorporate learnings from the program into your work?

I have immediately applied some of the leadership techniques covered in MGMT 3000. The course helped me see exactly where my team at work was struggling and provided some techniques to help address some problems we were facing as a team. Furthermore, the learnings from accounting have really helped me understand the key pieces of a business and how particular business decisions require a deep understanding of the financial health of an organization. The learnings already have me thinking differently about the projects and investments my team is considering over the next year.

Every day I grow my skill set with the MBA program and I am starting to earn a seat at the table with my leadership team. By understanding how a business operates through the management of its people or the management of its financials, I am able to focus my ideas and energies on changes that have the largest impact on our business. Coming from a technical role it's often easy to have an idea, but now I find myself asking "What's the value to the business?" and "Will this get us to where we need to be in five years?"

Sarah Garza, '20, Online MBA

Role & Company: Senior Product Manager, UserZoom
Location: San Francisco Bay Area

1. Please describe where you were in your career when you first considered getting an MBA. What were you looking for in an MBA program?

I graduated with a B.S. degree in Cognitive Science in 2012, and have been working at various software startups in Silicon Valley in UX and product management functions since. In my current role as a senior product manager, I work to inform our product strategy and bring new concepts to market by analyzing a variety of data inputs, understanding market trends, prioritizing customer needs, and communicating value to our user base. I knew that having a well-rounded understanding of all aspects of business would enable me to be an effective product manager and grow immediately in my current career. Silicon Valley is also ripe with an entrepreneurial spirit, and I hope to one day pursue my own venture. I was seeking an MBA program that would empower me with the necessary knowledge to become an innovative leader in Silicon Valley. With the SCU Online MBA program, I have felt a renewed drive to continue on this path knowing that I have new and vital knowledge from my MBA coursework to bring to the table.

2. What have you enjoyed the most about the Online MBA program at SCU?

This may surprise some, but I especially enjoy that much of the coursework in the online program is actually group work. With an online program, networking does not always happen as naturally, so working together with other classmates to complete various projects and assignments challenges us to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds. When you sign up for the online learning management system, you create a profile with a photo and a brief summary of your background. This makes it easy when you're assigned a new group project because you can get reacquainted with the classmates you met at the residency weekend. I've had the opportunity to team with incredibly smart individuals who work in a variety of areas like agriculture, banking, consulting, and advertising…just to name a few! This has really helped to open me up to different working styles given much of my career has been in the same industry.

3. How have you been able to incorporate learnings from the program into your work?

I really enjoy the variety of the coursework. Last quarter, I took a marketing course aptly titled Doing Business in Silicon Valley. The course discussed business models, network effects, and shared characteristics of innovative Silicon Valley companies. Through written case studies, recorded interviews with local business leaders, lecture content, and group discussions, we analyzed how new ventures are both financed and brought to market. Coursework like creating a cap table or drafting a proposal for Amazon's next investment were invaluable in helping me systematically understand why businesses make certain decisions. In my current role, I often find myself thumbing back to class notes to help provide evidence and reasoning for product improvements.

Also, even though courses can be very different, they are also very related. For example, in both my Business Analytics and Strategic Negotiations course, we discussed game theory. And in both my Marketing Strategies and Decisions and Managerial Economics course, we discussed pricing strategy and optimization. This really helps me to see the interconnectedness of functional areas and understand topics in a really robust, and well-rounded way. I'm more confident each quarter about my ability to make an impact in my company, career, and community.
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