The first class of students completing the Drexel University Online Business Administration degree program will graduate this summer, and students who are near completion were on campus last week to participate in a residency program designed to help them outline and achieve their career goals.
Joseph Habich, a network administrator living in Narberth, Pa., says he had been looking forward to the residency for months to finally get to meet friends that he’s made through the program in person. “I love this program, and I’ve been talking to these people online for months or sometimes years.”
Habich says that defining his career goals for the residency has been very insightful for him. He says there “tends to be a big gap between the IT guys and the business guys: the guys who make the budget and the guys that want the budget” at many organizations, and his career goal is to help bridge that gap. He chose to pursue his degree online so he could spend as much time with his family as possible when he’s not working.
Joshua Jordan, a carpenter who lives in Stone Harbor, N.J., says that online classes work best for him because he needs to be flexible for his work schedule, and he can take his classes and work on assignments before work, after work, or any time of day. “I find time here, there and everywhere to do the work,” he says, adding that the key to being successful with online classes is to make them part of your routine.
Jordan also says his favorite part of the residency was meeting the other online students that he’s had so much interaction with, and that he’s open to whatever career possibilities may come his way in the future, including the possibility of starting his own construction business.
Mira Omurzakova, an online student residing in London, enrolled in the program a few years ago while living in New York City. She lives with her partner whose job requires him to move frequently, and she didn’t want to have to continuously transfer from college to college each time they moved. She says the online classes are convenient for her, and she feels like she knows the professors well even though she doesn’t usually see them in person.
“If I have a problem or question, I can email them and they respond pretty quickly,” Omurzakova says, noting that email works best in her case because of the time zone difference. She says she’s really enjoyed doing group projects with her classmates. Even though the students are each working remotely, she says the group has a Facebook page and they correspond using that, email and phone to divide and assign tasks.
During the four-day residency, the students assessed their career goals, developed realistic action plans, and presented their career portfolios. They also attended sessions on topics such as work-life balance, entrepreneurial careers, and received one-on-one resume critiques.
Evan Danziger, assistant director of undergraduate advising, noted that another goal of the program was give the online students “the opportunity to get the on-campus college experience.” The students each got a Dragon Card, and the residency gave them the opportunity to attend classes and eat on-campus. “Based on the students’ response, I believe that we achieved that goal,” he says.