Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Student's Perspective on the Flexibility of Kelley Direct

All online MBA programs talk about "flexibility," but what does that really mean? I decided to reflect on that for a minute and found three specific instances that would have turned out very differently if I had selected an in-person MBA program instead of Kelley Direct. Read the first story about how the flexibility of the Kelley Direct MBA helped my wife and me on my site - the other two stories are below:

Attending the [entire] Indian Wedding:
Your Indian (you’ll see why this is relevant in a second) cousin decides to get married right before finals week. Because this is one of your wife’s closest cousins, (here it is) you’ll have to fly out in the middle of the week to attend all 5 of the wedding events (over the course of 3 or 4 days). How inconsiderate of that cousin to decide to get married in the middle of your MBA quarter. Couldn’t she wait just two more years? Heh. Now you have to decide if you want to miss the last class before the finals week and the last opportunity to ask the professor questions to keep your family happy. 

But wait, you can do both because you’re an online MBA student in Kelley Direct and your professors are surprisingly accessible at any time. Your professors have even given you their cell phones in case you need to ask them questions during the times when they’re not in the office. You don’t feel that bad about potentially missing the review session because it will be recorded too. You can watch it, rewind it and re-watch the parts that you need to focus on. Your cousin is so honored that you chose her over your MBA that week (you just smile and nod). Your wife is also very happy that you’re there with her. She’s glad that you chose Kelley Direct.

Making Time for Your CEO:
It’s budget season at work – the fiscal year is about to end (at some random time of the year instead of December 31) for some reason. Your boss is riding you to finish PowerPoint after PowerPoint to present to his boss, to the other executives, to the sales managers and of course the CEO. Obviously you don’t say no because this is a great opportunity for you to get visibility. How often are you presenting things to the CEO? The longer hours and missed sleep will be all worth it you tell yourself. You’ve also signed up for two MBA classes again this quarter. Both have group assignments, and one of them is flying through a chapter each week on top of the case your group is supposed to finish soon. “Getting to lectures this week is going to be a pain,” you tell yourself on Sunday night as you glance at your calendar after the day’s last football game. You don’t know how you will ever get to class, group meetings and all those PowerPoint presentations.

But wait, you don’t have to spend time driving to class and meetings after work because you’re an online MBA student in Kelley Direct. You’re able to stay at work and just catch your class there because your workplace has a computer, and the Internet (shocking I know). Your groups consist of people from all over the US so you don’t have to try to meet with them either. All of the members in your group agree to a conference call time and just share their work on Google Drive (formerly known as Google Docs) so everyone has access to it. You let your team know this is a rough week for you so you won’t be able to make the meeting. They tell you not to worry about it and mention that you should just check the shared folder when you get a minute to review the team’s work – and to add any comments if you have them. You appreciate your group’s understanding. Your boss appreciates that you’re able to make the deadlines. Your wife appreciates that she doesn’t have be home alone while you’re attending class and at meetings. She’s glad you chose Kelley Direct.

All of these are true stories (with slight adjustments for attempted humor), and the latter is happening right now. I’m on the Metra (local train system that goes to and from downtown Chicago and its suburbs) going home at 10:30PM after attending a local networking event that Kelley Direct hosted at Mastro's, a nice steakhouse in the city. This is the 3rd or 4th time Kelley Direct has hosted such an event in downtown Chicago since I joined the program. Even though I had to miss a class tonight to attend it (again not a huge issue b/c it’s recorded), I made time for it because it’s a great way to meet other students in the program and to help answer questions for prospective students. 

Fortunately for me, my workplace also gives me the flexibility to work remote from the office once a week (in case you haven’t caught on yet, I like flexibility). I just worked at a Starbucks a few blocks away from Mastro’s during the day so I could go straight to the event without fighting the rush hour traffic after work. Now I’m on a train writing this blog post. 

This is reality. 

Kelley Direct understands this reality and uses it to its advantage. It's not the #1 Online MBA program for nothing.