March 29, 2013

Why my part-time MBA is worth it

My name is Dr. Julius Korley and I have many identities, which include being a Christian, husband, father and small business owner. I graduated from Cornell with a PhD in Biomedical Engineering in 2010 with the hopes of starting my own company. That dream was realized during my translational research experience at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). As a small business owner, I wanted to be well-equipped to manage my company, Affinity Therapeutics, and thus began my journey at Weatherhead in the part-time MBA program. In addition to Affinity, I also work part-time at CWRU as the Associate Director of the Coulter-Case Translational Research Partnership.  With my many roles, there is very little down time.

Becoming a student again

I feel really good about my experience thus far. The people that I have met are amazing and very accomplished. Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect other than I'd be working with teams and getting a solid education to better run my start-up. Fortunately, I have been getting all of that and more. The L.E.A.D. course was eye-opening. I learned so much about myself and people that I had worked with in the past. This information has put me in a much better position to run my company, as I now understand about learning styles and how people’s motivations relate to those. This new perspective allows for better working relationships with my colleagues and simply, it helps to get more things done as there is less wasted energy.

My accounting knowledge has increased tremendously as well. I now understand and feel very comfortable with the accounting that goes on in a small business. Before I would see the numbers in the different categories and be confused, but now I understand them and what the appropriate ration could mean to a potential investor. With the first year of my part-time MBA program almost complete, I feel that I'm better prepared to successfully lead my company. I'm also very excited about the network and brand that I'm building as I matriculate through the program, as well as the future and all that it holds.

The pay off versus the time commitment

For small business owners thinking about the program, be prepared to be immersed in a sea of knowledge and to have several faculty members that care about your success. Multiple professors have already made connections for me and recommended services needed by my company. Additionally, be prepared for a significant time commitment with a huge upside. This is no different from any other worth-wild venture; your payoff is directly proportional to the amount of effort you put in. Ask me in a few years and I can detail just how huge of an upside there is to the time commitment!

The first semester of the program was much more than I expected. There was always something to read, an assignment due or a group project to work on. I had very little free time that particular semester, but my second semester feels much better, more like what I can expect from the rest of the program; or so I am told. I typically spend about 10-15 hours on average per week reading, doing homework and meeting with my team.

Balancing family, work and school

One of my motivations to start this program was to be in a better position to support my wife LaShanda and my daughter Clara. This first year has been a great transition. I had to learn how to move from task to task with minimal transition time. This is something that I'm very much still trying to perfect. I'm very happy that the program started in the summer, with only one course. The balancing act has been quite challenging with two career-oriented parents that work full-time but our families are very supportive. I noticed during this first course that things were slipping through the cracks and making my life unnecessarily complicated; and this was only taking one class. Out of the chaos, I developed a strategy to better organize my time in an effort to remove some of the subsequent stress. The strategy that has worked for me is putting all the class periods on a calendar that I share with my wife. From that point, we communicate to make sure nothing is overlooked. That strategy has evolved to encompass task management software that syncs with our PCs and mobile devices. Now, very few items slip through the cracks. My family also makes sure that I spend the appropriate amount of time with them by being extremely vocal, especially Clara.

When I do get a break

I'm not the most exciting person so you will not find many extravagant things on my list. I do frequent my local gym, 121 Fitness; Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers and Indians games; museums; Wildwater Kingdom; several fine dining establishments and Olivet Institutional Baptist Church. Cleveland has so much to offer. If you have the time for exploration you can discover a lot, and I look forward to finding that time in the future.

Dr. Julius Korley
Part-time MBA, Class of 2015

---U.S. News & World Report 2013 rankings placed the Weatherhead part-time MBA program 30th in the country.

March 8, 2013

Why Weatherhead is a great fit for me

I come from China and did my undergraduate in Shanghai in economics and mathematics. After that, I found myself no longer enjoying theoretical or mathematical work. I am quite interested in Finance, though. The Master of Science in Management-Finance program at the Weatherhead School of Management is a good fit for me, since it matches the direction that I would like to develop my career in. The courses they offer also interest me very much.

My experience so far

Before I came to this program, I was not very sure what the school life would be like in the U.S. and I was a little bit worried about how I can quickly get used to it given the program is so short (one and a half years).

So far I would say my experience at Weatherhead has exceeded my expectations. The courses are wonderful and taught by dedicated professors. The coursework is a little bit heavy, however, it encourages me to learn as much as I can. Weatherhead provides us with all kinds of resources for studying and developing careers. People are very nice here, and you can always turn to someone for help when you need it. The experience is beyond my expectations because it not only challenges me, but also provides me with plenty of help. I feel myself making progress all the time.

Getting settled in and finding a place to live

The Case Western Reserve University Chinese Student and Scholar Association (CSSA) helped me link to International Friends, another organization in Cleveland. International Friends helped me find a host family to accommodate me for one week when I first arrived in Cleveland. The family then helped me find an apartment to live in.

I would recommend that new students, especially international students, look for help through local organizations, like International Friends, or current students at CWRU when looking for a place to live. The process is more efficient and easier with the help of local people.

Best part about living in Cleveland

My life in Cleveland is quite simple. Studying keeps me busy during the semester and I spend my breaks traveling all over the US. At first sight of Cleveland, some may think that there are not many things to do here, especially for international students. But actually, there is a lot to explore, like performances by the Cleveland Orchestra, exhibitions in the Cleveland Museum of Art, skiing in national parks, etc. I have experienced a lot that I was not used to doing before and I like the different style found in Cleveland.

It might be a little inconvenient to live in Cleveland for people who do not own a car. But what I like most about Cleveland is the natural scenery. Sometimes walking is very enjoyable. When I walk along the road, I can always find myself immersed in the sunset next to a uniquely styled house.

What I have been involved in outside of class

I have been trying to network with more people outside of class. It is very exciting because you keep getting to know new people who will bring new ideas and new stories to you. Also, I feel it is very helpful to learn about real work experience, which is a great supplement to what we have learned in class. I enjoy the process very much because learning from people is also beneficial and it builds my confidence in my communication skills when dealing with all kinds of challenges.

Yi (Frances) Shi
Master of Finance, Class of 2013

Watch our video and hear from students why Cleveland is a great city to study.
Learn more about our MS-Finance program

March 1, 2013

Six Tips from and for an International Grad Student

I moved to Weatherhead from Honduras last August. When I first arrived, it was both exciting and challenging. In hopes of helping other international students overcome different challenges during their transitions, I want to share some tips from my experiences studying abroad.

1. Housing
Before arriving, I read all of the information about the housing options suggested by the school. I prepared a list of the prospective places to rent and checked them out online. I didn’t make a deal to rent until I personally inspected the apartment, the building and the surroundings.

2. Speak out
At first in the classroom, I was afraid to ask questions or share my opinion. But this is the only way I could improve my verbal communication skills. I watched how my classmates interacted during the class and tried to learn from their techniques, so that I felt more comfortable the next time I wanted to participate.

3. Socialize
Yes, hanging out with friends from my own country could be a lot of fun and far easier than meeting new people, but I reminded myself that I came here because I wanted to interact with other cultures! The school offers me the perfect opportunity to achieve this by creating friendships that will last beyond the program. I started going to as many international events as I could. It was nice to find a balance between my professional and social life.