Poets & Quants names Kyrsten Sinema one of 2018 Best Online MBAs

The news website dedicated to the graduate business education market reached out to 68 full-time MBA programs (50 American and 18 international) to call for Best & Brightest MBA nominees, its fourth annual celebration of students who've made a lasting impact on their business schools. Poets & Quants received 239 nominations from 65 b-schools. Of the 100 students featured, 52 are women — and one is Kyrsten Sinema, who is an "Arizona Congresswoman who loves learning, teaching, triathlon, and ultra-marathons.” Learn more about her.

Age: 41

Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

Fun fact about yourself: I completed the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, in 2015.

Undergraduate school and degree:

M.S.W., ASU 1999; J.D., ASU, 2004; Ph.D., ASU, 2012

Where are you currently working? I am the U.S. Congresswoman for Arizona’s ninth congressional district. I teach as a part-time lecturer at ASU in the School of Social Work.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? After a young veteran in my district lost his life to suicide, I passed a law that ensures veterans get appropriate access to the mental health care they need before they are in crisis. I hope that this law has helped save the lives of veterans who return home and need our help and support. Today, we lose 20 veterans a day to suicide in the U.S., and that is 20 too many.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Arizona State is a stellar university, and the online MBA program is one of the very best in the nation. As a Sun Devil for Life and a lifelong learner, ASU’s online program was the only school I applied to for my MBA.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? I really appreciated being able to work at my own pace, on my own timetable. With my demanding work and travel schedule, the flexibility of an online program was absolutely essential.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? I didn’t expect to spend much time in group work because of the online setting, but working with a core group of four fellow students for the duration of the program (via internet and phone) has been very rewarding.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? Ha! The internet was invented while I was an undergrad (’93-95), so an online learning platform makes a world of difference. However, all my other graduate degrees were in-person (and they were slightly more recent). I appreciate both experiences, despite their great differences. In my PhD, the in-person experience mattered because our classes were very small and intense. In this MBA program, I have appreciated having the flexibility to learn at my own pace, at the hours that work for my schedule. I think an online MBA works well — it’s a good balance between independent learning and group interaction, which fits our subject matter of study.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Schedule your time carefully, always work ahead because life happens, and find a group member who can help you learn math.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? I decided to get my MBA so I could be a better member of Congress. I work with large and small businesses, and they all face different challenges when dealing with government bureaucracy and regulations. This program has helped me understand their challenges better, and I’ve taken smarter and more effective actions in Congress to help businesses since starting this program.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? Yes, because I love learning new skills. In the ASU MBA program, almost everything I learned was brand new.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I’m running for the U.S. Senate right now.

This article was originally published on Poets & Quants. See the entire list of the Best & Brightest: Class of 2018.

By Jeff Schmitt

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