Online Outstanding Graduate Award Winner: Tierney Smays

Tierney Smays is our 4th recipient of the Online Outstanding Graduate Award! Tierney just graduated with her MBA. We asked her to answer a few questions to learn more about her program and experience with WebsterU Online.

Why did you choose to do your degree online?
My dream is to become a medical director and own my on organization that specializes in needs of women with high-risk pregnancies. After observing the criteria needed to achieve each role, I decided that enrolling in a MBA program was highly beneficial. One of my family members asked me if I had given Webster any thought? I actually hadn’t although I was graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Biology that year (May, 2014). Did some research, applied and I was accepted. I can truly say that achieving this goal prior to applying to medical school was a great decision. The lack of business knowledge entering such a program required a lot of studying.

What advice would you give students who are considering getting their degree online?
I would highly recommend students that have a busy schedule to consider obtaining a degree online. Webster’s online programs are straightforward and provide a pretty standard layout of deadlines and policy and procedures.

What was the hardest part about doing your coursework remotely?
I didn’t really find anything hard about completing the coursework remotely. Possibly, coursework that required groups may have caused some confusion with limited communication such as email, discussion board, or via telephone. So, I would have to say that the coursework was challenging but far from hard because the course is fully remotely.

We usually recommend that online students set a time and place to “go to” class. Did you do this? Would you give us tips?
Yes, I did have a set time and place to attend class. I typically logged in at least twice a day. Once in the morning and that following evening, either at my kitchen table or at the library.

Some tips:

  1. Always read your syllabus in full the first week of class. This helps you identify the coursework load and the ability to plan accordingly.
  2. Place all assignment due dates on your calendar or planner with a 24hr reminder.
  3. Engage in introduction discussions for each course.
  4. Download the Canvas app to all mobile devices. (iPad, cellular, etc.)- This will allow one have access to coursework at all times.

How long did it take you to feel comfortable with the fact that you would never see your classmates? Do you feel you got to know some of them better than others throughout the program?
I was pretty comfortable with the fact that I would never see my classmates. I previously took an online curse in undergraduate so my expectations were the same. Some individuals I can say that I know them better than others due to having multiple courses together or possibly having the opportunity to work in groups with some. I believe the whole experience is what you make it. All of my peers were very friendly and open to answer any questions and concerns as well as our instructors.

How did you approach your class on a daily basis – did you have a set pattern for accessing certain tools or parts of the course each day?
Yes, so as I stated before. I would check my course each morning via my cellular phone. Checking for any announcements, then reviewing any assignments that are up and coming and to check emails. I would then follow up in the evening by checking emails and working on assignment.

What was your most memorable course and instructor? Can you elaborate why?
My most memorable course and instructor during this program would be Career Management with Dr. Seifert. In my opinion I believe that Career Management should become a required course. Career exploration and self-awareness are two key factors that help one to align a successful evaluation of career management. Dr. Seifert provided coursework that made my peers and myself to think not only about the steps and the proper ways to manager a career but as well as our on career decisions. Our discussions were very detailed and open to explain our current career status and personal views also. Followed by her continuous positive and constructive criticism at all times. Dr. Seifert found a way to provide a warm welcoming environment to her students online. Thanks, Dr. Seifert! 

Would you encourage fellow online students to come to the main campus commencement?
Of course! Webster University is my alma mater; the overall experience that is created for the online students is remarkable.

What does the Outstanding Graduate Award mean to you?
Honestly, I was completely surprised to have been chosen for the Outstanding Graduate Award. During the course of my enrollment at Webster, I have had the pleasure of interacting with some truly talented individuals. To be chosen from such a strong group of candidates is truly something special.