Online MBA Degree Pays Dividends for Ohio Student
When Michael Harman enrolled in the Carey Business School’s online MBA program, one of the first things he did was update his LinkedIn profile. He may have expected some congratulations and encouragement from some friends and associates, but he didn’t expect what happened next.
“The next thing I know I’m getting inundated with recruiters,” said Harman, who lives in Ohio. “My first residency on the Baltimore campus, I was doing two interviews a night. I wasn’t even really looking, but I felt like I had to go through the process.”
Less than a year after enrolling, Harman cashed in on one of those opportunities when he accepted a position as Controller for Geis Companies, a commercial and industrial design build firm. Previously, Harman, a CPA, worked as an audit manager for a public accounting firm. Before that, however, he worked in real estate development and was looking to get back into the field.
Harman styles himself as a “certified nerd, although without the pocket protector.” Harman started out working on construction sites remodeling buildings in Albany, NY, but became a CPA after realizing he “didn’t want to be hanging off of buildings in the middle of winter.”
After settling down and starting a family, Harman realized he needed an MBA to get him to the next stage of his career. Although a New York resident at the time, Harman has deep ties to the city and Johns Hopkins – two of his uncles and his sister are alumni from the Whiting School of Engineering, his father, a West Point graduate, grew up on North Charles Street. He said if he ever had a chance to go to Johns Hopkins, he would jump at it. For him, the online Flexible MBA program was the perfect fit.
“For me, the opportunity cost of losing my salary while going to school made full-time programs not possible. I have a family to support, and all the trappings of my life,” he said.
Harman said he explored other schools, but the quality of education at Johns Hopkins is unmatched.
“I remember at my first on-campus residency, I was blown away by the level of faculty,” he said. “That’s what I want out of an MBA, the chance to make connections, to build relationships.”
He said the online format has challenged him to learn how to make personal connections in an increasingly technologically advanced world.
“Half of the work we do is out of state, so a lot of people I am working with are all over the country. Learning how to build those teams, build my teams, and how to roll out new initiatives at work seamlessly using Zoom or Go-To meeting – that’s been extremely valuable,” he said.
Harman added that his classes have helped become a better manager, a key for him in his new role.
“One of the things I learned is how to deal with conflict, and that conflict is normal and natural. Everything will be OK even if you don’t get along,” he said.
One thing that Harman said caught him by surprise was the level of work required for the program. He cautioned prospective students to harbor no illusions that the online program is less rigorous than in-person.
“If someone tells you it’s going to take your 10 hours to do an assignment, you should budget 10 hours,” he said. “I’ve had to recalibrate and pull back the amount of classes I’m taking at a time because I want to do everything well, but I think that commitment is something that gets missed,” he said.