UF MBA students pose for a photo.

Weekend residency provides students with engaging networking and professional development opportunities

Twenty-two students in the UF MBA Online program travelled from all over the country to spend a weekend on campus.

The Weekend Residency, hosted from Sept. 7-9, is a part of the UF MBA Online program, and is intended to give the online students the opportunity to connect with their school, peers and professors in person. For many students, it was their first time being back on campus since their orientation in April.

“I was initially drawn to the UF MBA program due to the Warrington College of Business’s worldwide reputation for delivering a well-rounded and practical education,” said Austin Kent (MBA ’24), one of the visiting students. “Once I saw that this program was ranked as the No. 4 online MBA [program] by U.S. News in 2023, that piqued my interest to investigate further. I found that the one-year accelerated online MBA program, which is the perfect program for busy professionals, allows me to advance my career while still working in my current role.

“With its competitive tuition, no other MBA program comes close to the same ROI as the University of Florida. The math was simple.”

Since the program is largely online, the students were offered a packed schedule to give them the full experience of being on campus, including a welcome reception, educational sessions and Q&A’s on career development and a networking luncheon.

One of the exercises students were challenged to complete before a session was the CliftonStrengths assessment. The 30-minute assessment helps students identify their individual strengths in categories such as strategic thinking, relationship building, influencing and executing. After taking the assessment, the students joined a workshop lead by Kim Beach, associate director of Business Career Services, in which they discussed how to maximize their strengths in their careers and personal lives.

“I work in financial planning and analysis, so most of my tasks relate to finding efficiencies in processes to reduce financial risk or just create efficiencies,” said Daniel Rodriguez (MBA ’24), another student in the program. “It was very interesting how the assessment knew that I am talented in the restorative theme by being adept at problem [solving] and working hard to understand the cause and effect of current processes and how to improve them through the use of tangible approaches, such as analytics.”

Giving a well-rounded approach to business, the agenda provided additional sessions with Dr. Jenny Susser, director of Wellbeing & Performance, on maintaining wellbeing amidst a busy schedule and with Dr. Brian Ray, director of the Poe Business Ethics Center, on ethical decision-making.

If the CliftonStrengths assessment was the academic highlight of the weekend, then the football game was the social one. To conclude their weekend residency, the students were invited to cheer on the Gators at the UF vs McNeese State football game. Joining the stadium of 90,000 fans in song for Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” was the ideal way to finish a weekend as a residential business student.

“I believe that any aspiring business professional could greatly benefit from UF’s MBA program,” Kent said. “Even those that are not located in Florida or are working full-time can achieve their MBA goals in upwards of a year with their online program.”