The Flexibility of the NC State Jenkins MBA

In a world where you can watch TV and movies and listen to music on your schedule, getting your MBA should be just as flexible. With the NC State Jenkins MBA program, it can be!

“We think MBA education can and should be delivered with flexibility,” says Steve Allen, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research, Poole College of Management. “Over 80% of our students are working professionals who face challenges balancing work, personal life and school. By giving them more options for taking classes, they can achieve a better work-life-study balance.”

Tailor the program to meet your individual needs

Once accepted into the program, each student selects a home platform: full-time study in Raleigh for two years, and for working professionals, the option of evening courses in Raleigh, evening courses in RTP and online courses.

“Students can vary their course load from semester to semester in response to changing work and personal situations,” says Allen. “If you get a promotion at work, we allow you to cut back on the number of courses you take. If you get an overseas assignment, you can switch from evening to online classes to fit your new circumstances. Students also can take leaves of absence. If you have a new addition to your family, you can adjust your class schedule accordingly.”

Amanda Savas, an accountant in the NC State College of Engineering’s Dean’s Office, expects to receive her MBA in spring 2019. “I chose the professional evening program, which is extremely flexible for working professionals, because of its flexibility,” she says. “For example, this fall, I’m taking one class in person on main campus and another online. The program also offers one-credit hour classes on the weekend that are easy to accommodate.

Ken Quinlan, who began the online program in August 2017, also appreciates the program’s flexibility. As the assistant chief of police for the Town of Cary, Quinlan’s work responsibilities can sometimes take up to 12 hours a day. “I’m doing one class at a time, anticipating that getting my degree might take me three or four years,” says Quinlan, who is also an NC State undergraduate alum.

Create an academic schedule that fits your life

Brian Keefer, Senior QA Area Specialist II at Novo Nordisk, started the online program in spring 2017 and expects to receive his MBA in fall 2019. After accepting a new role with his company, Keefer needed to work in Denmark for six months. He was still able to attend classes, even with the six hour time difference. “The class lectures are prerecorded so I didn’t need to be online at a certain time,” he says. “And our groups collaborate on projects virtually, using Google Hangout.”

Ken Quinlan says that professors are available to answer students’ questions in the evenings and on weekends and regularly have virtual office hours facilitated by technology. “Professors make it very clear to students that we should reach out whenever we want to,” he says

Work/Life/School Balance

Jenkins School students are adept at juggling many responsibilities. Here’s how a few of them do it:

Amanda Savas: “I don’t take more than six credit hours a semester. I’ve also learned to take fewer credit hours in a semester if there are a lot of deliverables for my job. I find that if I put something in my calendar, even a reminder to hike with my husband, I’m better about following through and maintaining some balance.”

Nicole Panor, Event Marketing Manager, Valassis Digital, received her MBA in May 2018, after finishing the accelerated track: “I spent the last semester of Jenkins juggling a new pregnancy, traveling for work, school, and taking care of my family (+ cocker spaniel!) here in Raleigh. I knew that I had to put into the program as much as I wanted to get out of it. I also knew that it was a temporary part of my life – so I was fine with staying in on the weekends or missing out on fun things with friends in order to get the school work done.”

Ken Quinlan: “Time management is critical. The professors list all the requirements of the classes—the reading, homework, papers, quizzes—in advance of the classes starting so you can see what’s going to be expected over the five week or 10 week period. That enables me to plan accordingly.”

— Written for the NC State Poole College of Management by Michele Lynn

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