Large group of uniformed soldiers stand in formation in front of a large ship

UF MBA’s Online Flexibility Offers Big Campus Benefits

By Will Critz, Navy Lieutenant, Surface Warfare Officer

So, you’ve decided to get your MBA online – after all, an MBA is the number one way to open career opportunities, enhance your skills at work, and increase earning potential. You’ve signed up for the GMAT/GRE, dusted off those math skills, and learned the word “quant.” You probably have a few hesitations though – will the workload lay flat on your existing career and personal life? Will the online format provide the same quality education and critical networking opportunities as a brick-and-mortar experience? What if you have to travel or deploy for your real job during finals week?

As an active duty service member with a growing family, I was definitely asking myself those questions too! I thought “I can’t predict when my workload at my day job is going to skyrocket” and “the professors might not understand if I have to travel or deploy with spotty internet access.” Luckily, I found the flexible course structure at University of Florida’s online MBA program. By the way, I don’t mean flexible like a fly-by-night degree at the bottom of a cereal box is flexible. UF MBA’s online program was ranked in the top 5 for 2018 in five major rankings including QS World University Rankings, Poets and Quants, and US News & World Report. 

The UF MBA online program is unique among every other program I researched. Unlike some of the lengthy timelines at other schools, it’s only 24 months long and executed in a flexible course structure.

The result is UF’s online MBA is a predictable, “steady strain” of effort. In the Navy, we know mooring lines (and people) can hold plenty of “steady strain” but they can snap under short bursts of tension. The traditional structure of several classes at once always felt to me like walking for the first few weeks of the semester and then sprinting when all my papers and finals are due in the same week at the end – I don’t see many marathon runners using that technique! Good luck telling my boss “sorry Captain, can’t do it, I have three finals and a group project!”

My professors at UF have been flexible as well, each very upfront about expectations and willing to shift dates around to accommodate special circumstances, as long as I communicate early. Basically, they’re willing to work with us on a case-by-case basis. And if “life happens” and I need to drop a class for any reason, it’s simple. I can either stay with my cohort and make up the class, or even pause the program and roll-back into the next cohort.

By the way, my cohort – they’ve been selected by UF as superior candidates to represent diverse perspectives in our cohort. We’re all busy, but motivated to learn and get real-world functional knowledge out of the program. When I’m assigned groups, I know we’re all going to pull our weight and even have fun. We’ve actually had a good time on video conferences during office hours and group projects. In fact, I keep in touch with several classmates as they provide an invaluable sounding board and help to expand my professional network and stay connected.

What about networking, how does that work? Networking is one of the most valuable benefits I looked for in an MBA program, and can separate the haves and the have-nots when it comes to marketing myself after graduation. As an online MBA student, I’m getting the full force of The Gator Nation behind me – one of the largest alumni networks in the world. In addition, UF has an entire dedicated Business Career Services department giving me one-on-one coaching to generate and evaluate my career plan. And when the time comes, they’ll link me up with alumni at any companies of interest when I’m preparing for interviews.

I’ll finish up with two points. First, many MBA programs offer the same classes and require potentially thousands of hours to complete. And many schools would happily squeeze me into their mold of a semester-based schedule. UF MBA’s online program breaks that mold, and fits around me instead. It’s actually designed to be flexible for working professionals like me, with a steady, predictable demand on my time. Lastly, you absolutely can do it! Even working full-time with a family life! Do yourself a favor and take a “steady strain” approach, and Go Gators!

To experience the same benefits that Critz did from the UF MBA Online program, request information today.