Tuesday, November 10, 2009

505 Miles from Bloomington

It's a Tuesday morning in early November, the day before Veterans Day in the US, about 10am in the morning, I'm in Richmond, VA, and I'm attending class for an MBA program that is in the Top 15.

Now while Richmond, VA certainly has some fine schools, Virginia Commonwealth University (my undergraduate Alma Mater) and University of Richmond, they are not top 15 MBA programs, at least according to the latest Business Week rankings. Just a decade or so ago, if I wanted to attend a top MBA program, living full-time in Richmond, VA would have been physically impossible. I would have had to quit work, uproot my family, and leave the city I love, to move somewhere else for a few years of my life. Quite honestly, I don't know if it would have happened.

Fast forward to 2009, and the concept of online education has taken off, most notably by the "for profit" schools that we always see advertising on TV (which please do not confuse with prestigious schools that are venturing into online education. And while a lot of lower tier business schools have started rolling out an online curriculum, the top 15 to 20 or so MBA programs have been very slow, except the Kelley school at Indiana. Last year about this time I started looking at options for an MBA, trying to find a program that would allow me to work full-time, stay in Richmond, and at the same time feel that I was getting the best education I could. There were some local choices (UR, VCU, and even Virginia Tech who does a remote site MBA here in Richmond), and some online choices (Penn State, Arizona State, Indiana). However, no matter how I analyzed the programs (reputation, price, flexibility), Indiana was my top choice (and I'm a very analytical person). I applied to Indiana first, with all others as possible seconds. I was accepted, and began the program in August of 2009.

Now, at this point I am only a few months into the program, and I can honestly say that there has been no regrets. In fact, I have been blown away by the quality of the program. I have spent literally the past decade in college (working full-time while getting my undergraduate, and a masters in accounting also), so I have taken my fair share of college courses, and the 2 classes I have taken so far in the Kelley Direct program, even though I am attending class from 505 miles away, easily rank in the top 5 of all classes I've taken.

I admit, I was skeptical at first of exactly how the "online thing" would work. But it works incredibly well, and without a lot of the noise and distractions of a typical classroom.

Hopefully this blog, and the other Kelley Direct student blogs, will help to distinguish the Kelley Direct program from others. I will continue to write of my experiences in the program in hopes that it will help future students determine if the KD program is the right choice for them.

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