Profile of an Online Business School Graduate

A graduate student talks about her business degree online program and how it led to a great career.

hero-profile-of-an-online-business-school-graduateAnne Marie Smith, PhD
Title: Consultant, Enterprise Information Management
and Corporate Trainer
School: Northcentral University Online

Why did you choose to get your business degree online?

I chose Northcentral University in 2001 when I was teaching at La Salle University in Philadelphia. I had long wanted to pursue a PhD in Management Information Systems (MIS). I did not pursue a PhD earlier since I was not certain it was valued in the business world. When I went to La Salle on a four-year contract I decided to explore the doctoral programs available in MIS.

The Northcentral approach to individualized learning experience and their no-residency requirement were two large considerations in my choice of program. Also, the president and the business dean were known to my dean at La Salle and received favorable comments from him.

What was your biggest concern about online education?

I did not have any real misconceptions since I taught in some online courses as an adjunct faculty member and had done some online corporate training instruction as well.

What insight can you impart to a new student?

Ask yourself: Why do you want a PhD? What do you plan to do with it that you can’t do without it? Is the program strong enough in your chosen specialty? Are you the type of person who can work really self-directed? All PhD programs are self-directed, even traditional classroom programs, but a distance learning PhD is completely self-directed. Can you sustain the momentum and interest for five, six or seven years? Also, start now to think of a topic for your dissertation because you can never start that too soon once you have decided to obtain a PhD.

What was important in choosing your online school?

Most important was that it was fully accredited and had robust and broad programs with solid courses and great online syllabi and resources. Access to online research libraries was especially important. I also wanted a no residency requirement for my graduate degree. It was equally important to have instructors qualified or certified in online/distance education who had at least 10 years experience in their disciplines.

Do you see online education as the wave of the future?

I see it as one of the main avenues for education. I don’t think it will ever replace the traditional classroom experience, especially for those in the undergraduate arena, and I don’t think it is the only way to earn a great degree. But I do think that distance education for graduate education is a permanent addition to the landscape.

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