The University of Olivet MBA Program Meets the Needs of Today’s Working Professionals

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The University of Olivet is home to undergraduate and graduate students alike. Our MBA program is designed for adult learners who wish to continue their education while taking advantage of a 100% online program.

Emily Lash is one such student. Graduating in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing communications and advertising, Emily knew she would someday like to pursue a master’s degree. She worked in advertising sales for over 10 years, but as a born and raised Olivetian, she wanted to return to her hometown. In 2020, Emily began working in fundraising for The University of Olivet, and the possibility of pursuing her MBA became feasible.

Originally, Emily considered pursuing a master’s degree as soon as she earned her bachelor’s degree but was encouraged to gain some experience first. “My undergraduate advisor said the best thing you can do is enter the workforce to get some experience under your belt, and then when you decide to go back for your master’s, you can take that experience and professional knowledge into the classroom,” said Emily.

So, when the opportunity for an MBA presented itself at The University of Olivet, Emily was eager to jump in. A valuable aspect of the program has been its flexibility. “My classmates are working professionals who’ve been in the workforce for a while, and the flexibility of it has been one of the best things for me,” Emily said.

As a busy working parent and student, Emily found that this schedule allows her to spend time with her one-year-old son and stay on top of her coursework. With the Zoom class starting at 6 p.m., she can eat dinner with her family and say goodnight to her son before he goes to sleep. Emily shared that she even had one class that loved the few minutes her son was on screen, and, at the beginning of each class, her classmates always asked if they would get to say goodnight to him that night. This was so touching for Emily, and she was thankful for that level of camaraderie with her fellow students.

Each course is eight weeks long, with five terms per year. Students can begin during any term, and the classes are offered live on Zoom or “Flexschedule,” allowing students to watch the lectures at any time while interacting with their professors and classmates via Blackboard.

Additionally, the professors’ care and attention to the students is a defining feature of the program. In Emily’s class covering quantitative analysis, for example, she needed some assistance with a few assignments. Professor Steve Ellis, MBA, CPCU, AIC, was always there to help. “He would respond to a text message within a few moments,” said Emily. “And he would even schedule office hours via Zoom for one-on-one assistance.”

Emily went on to say, “The professors’ focus is not to make us experts in one specific field. It’s to help us grow professionally as we face the different challenges within our different industries and organizations.”

Emily encourages others to consider this program because it is practical and relevant for many professional roles. For example, she will soon take the class Management and Organizational Behavior with a Diverse Workforce. “Diversity in the workforce,” said Emily, “is something we regularly encounter, whether it’s diversity in how we look, how we think, how we act, or how our backgrounds affect us. It takes real-world professional work experience and puts it into practice.”

A general MBA allows Emily to apply what she is learning to her occupation at The University of Olivet. She said of the program, “I could specialize it to focus on my personal career goals, so that was perfect.”

Emily has about a year left, and the program has been an invaluable experience for her. She said, “The MBA program is intentional, it’s flexible and you can tell that the college really cares about its students.”

To learn more about the MBA program, contact Director of Adult Professional and Graduate Admissions Mike Lazusky at mlazusky@uolivet.edu.

This feature was written by Savannah Baker, a senior studying English and business. The former editor of Olivet’s literary journal, Garfield Lake Review, Savannah now pursues her interest in writing and editing as a marketing intern with The University of Olivet. 


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