"The reputation of the university was a key factor in my decision to attend the U of A; the university has very strong credentials. I made the decision that it was something that I was going to do, and the timing was right. The hybrid program makes it all possible. It is an excellent program."
Cedric Haulcy loves the online format, pace, and experience.
“It really does come down to the fact that the online program is a more efficient and effective learning experience for me,” he said. After graduating from the University of Arkansas 100% online undergraduate program, he decided to return for the Executive Master of Business Administration program. Haulcy believes this degree program will help him achieve both his short-term and long-term goals. When he graduates in May of 2023, he plans to return to the workforce in a more senior role and one day start his own business. Haulcy’s career background is in retailing, and achieving his graduate level credentials is something that he has wanted to do for a long time.
“The reputation of the university was a key factor in my decision to attend the U of A; the university has very strong credentials,” he said. “I made the decision that it was something that I was going to do, and the timing was right. The hybrid program makes it all possible. It is an excellent program.”
Being in Bentonville, Arkansas, he would not be able to commute and be in class every day each week. The hybrid Executive MBA program includes a mix of both online and face to face sessions. The specialized course content is delivered online each week, and students come to campus once a month on Saturdays for class interaction. Haulcy believes that there is tremendous value in the face-to-face meetings, which allows for direct interaction with the instructors and colleagues, as well as it helps with the strategic aspects of the program.
“The interaction with fellow students is very robust because they come from a very broad array of career backgrounds, experiences, and from locations across the nation,” Haulcy said. “Given the various career backgrounds and experiences, there's a variety of different topics that will surface in discussions that might not otherwise in a regular core program. That just really adds value to the academic learning experience.”
As a business student, Haulcy values how the program allows for various opportunities to network, and work with new people.
“We collaborate and work on a lot of projects as teams,” he said. “The cohort progresses through the program together; however, the classes are changed up each semester, so you get to work with different people. I like that aspect of it.”
Haulcy thinks the way the content is delivered is excellent. Classes are mapped out each week. You can work at your own pace. If you've got something going on during a certain week and you're not going to have as much time, you can work ahead.
“I try to stay ahead,” he said. “If something comes up, then I have some buffer time. It's a very efficient program but you must be disciplined.”
Haulcy’s advice to anyone who may be considering studying in the hybrid program can be summed up with one word, commitment.
“It is an excellent, well-rounded program, but you do have to be committed,” he said. “And by committed, you have to carve out time. You have to read the content, go through the exercises, complete the assignments, and participate in the team projects. You have to do your best to stay on track. If you get behind, it’s difficult to catch up. Given the required team projects, you're not able to really add the necessary value to be successful if you're behind. While a hybrid program does open the door for people who have a very time-sensitive schedule, you do have to be committed to the program.”
A huge benefit of the small hybrid program is the time University of Arkansas faculty and staff allocate to support the student’s success.
“We have a dedicated associate MBA director that is embedded into the program,” Haulcy said. “The associate director is always available to support the students, and we’re in constant communication. The associate director tends to the needs of each student to ensure they are successful in the program.”
Another part of the program that Haulcy gives a lot of value to is the program’s global immersion segment. As part of one of the classes, students select from several countries to visit and work together on a project as a team. The objective is to immerse students into a different culture, learn what business opportunities exist, how businesses work in a different environment, and how other cultures and countries engage and interact in various business aspects.
“I believe the global immersion segment is very relevant, particularly in this current environment of ever-increasing globalization,” Haulcy said. “From my review, the global immersion segment was not an available option in every university’s Executive MBA program.” Haulcy finds ways to stay involved. He recently joined the Executive MBA Student Advisory Board. In addition, the students use special communication platforms to collaborate for both academic and non-academic related discussions which helps build camaraderie amongst the cohort.
Haulcy’s decision to take time off work to focus on school makes receiving the W.E. Manning Memorial Scholarship Award appreciated.
“This is a decision that I've made so the support really goes a long way,” he said. Haulcy recommends the program, particularly to people who have a varied schedule.
“I've seen a lot of people who are working, have family obligations, and don't have a lot of free time,” he said. “This program makes it possible for them to go back to achieve their graduate level education.”