INNOVATION MBA STUDENT
Current iMBA Student
When it was time to choose a degree program, current Innovation MBA student Christy Bracken-Vasquez knew flexibility was key. As a mom and wife with a full-time career, she needed the flexibility of online learning: “Most weeks, I work more than 40 hours. In addition, I have a very young daughter with whom I enjoy spending time. Pursuing my degree online allows me the flexibility to conduct my studies at times that are convenient for me—times that don’t necessarily fit a traditional degree program that takes place in a brick-and-mortar building. In my case, I can often be found studying for my classes late at night after my daughter goes to bed or even early in the morning before work. The online format fits perfectly into my very busy life and allows me to pursue my studies without sacrificing valuable family time.”
It was also important to Christy that her MBA program focused on developing a combination of practical skills and the knowledge needed to drive innovation. “I like that the iMBA degree program at Jefferson is geared toward preparing students for real-world situations, not just hypothetical scenarios. I also liked that the program has a lot of focus on teaching students how to think innovatively, which I think will be incredibly important in the current, rapidly changing marketplace,” she said.
In her management-level editorial career at the National Board of Medical Examiners, it’s important for Christy to have strong leadership skills. But she found herself becoming interested in other business topics as well: “I developed an increasing interest in learning more about the business aspects of my job. I wanted to understand the business side of things on a deeper level, and I found myself reading various business journal articles about innovation and management and wanting very much to learn more. For that reason, I began to think that an MBA might actually be the best degree to pursue at this point in my career.”
As an undergraduate, Christy studied English. One of the reasons she chose Jefferson Online’s iMBA program is that it offers options tailored to her background outside of the business world, helping her bridge the knowledge gap. “The degree program was also attractive to me because of my non-traditional background. My undergraduate degree is in English, and I had no previous business education (aside from that learned on the job) prior to enrolling in the program. By taking Jefferson’s concentrated ‘foundations’ courses that are especially designed for non-traditional students like me, I was able to get up to speed quickly before entering the iMBA formal program,” she said.
In terms of instructors, Christy has had great experiences with Professor Les Sztandera in both the New Product Development and Competitive Technical Intelligence courses: “Professor Sztandera is exceptional at getting students to think outside the box. In the two courses that I have had with him, he has utilized a team-based approach, which has helped me to get to know my fellow online learners much better and to develop collaborative relationships with them.”
Christy has already been able to apply what she’s learning in the iMBA program to her daily work responsibilities. “In the [roughly one] year that I have been in the program, I have already noticed a difference in the way that I view my work. I am now able to understand the rationale behind various strategic initiatives my company has been implementing, which allows me to better explain these initiatives to the staff that I manage. I feel like I communicate more effectively as a manager, and I am better able to think outside the box in order to solve the various problems that inevitably crop up from time to time,” she said.
She is excited to use the skills from the program as she moves forward in her career: “I also hope that my degree, coupled with my experience, will put me in a better position to advance at my current company. Regardless, I definitely feel like my online learning experience with Jefferson will help me to be a better manager and a more effective employee.”
Christy feels that some of the main benefits of Jefferson Online’s iMBA program are the flexibility and accelerated pace. “The program itself is well-designed and flexible, and it is amazing how much you are able to learn in each 8-week module. In addition, the other students in the program come from various backgrounds, and it’s fascinating to see how the concepts you are learning can be applied across so many different types of businesses,” she said.
For these reasons and more, Christy says she would “absolutely recommend” the iMBA program to others: “The Jefferson iMBA program is an excellent choice for highly motivated, self-paced learners who want a high-quality education with a flexible schedule. As someone who did not have an undergraduate degree in a business field, I admit that I was a little hesitant about pursuing an MBA at first. However, Jefferson’s foundations courses left me well prepared for the courses that were to follow. With diligence and hard work, success can be achieved.”
Whether you are looking to advance in your current career like Christy or are interested in developing skills for a new position, Jefferson Online’s iMBA can help you meet your professional goals. With an integrated, project-based curriculum focused on real-world skills, our program develops dynamic problem-solvers and entrepreneurial thinkers who are ready for success. Learn more about this flexible, innovative degree program here.