Rhonda Corprew, MBA
Online Healthcare MBA Program
The George Washington University
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Rhonda Corprew and I am a 2011 graduate of the Healthcare MBA program.
Why did you decide to take the GW Healthcare MBA program?
Personally, I wanted to take the George Washington Healthcare MBA program to actually complete a task that I wanted to do back in 1995. I wanted to go on to receive my master’s degree. But sometimes you get out of school and you take a little bit of time off and George Washington gave me the great vehicle to actually complete that and have a full-time job.
Professionally, I wanted to actually have an ability to expand my career options. Currently, I’m a pharmaceutical sales representative. And I wanted to change my career after fourteen years, into other avenues such as consulting, entrepreneurship of starting my own business and whatever life has to offer me, and this program has given me that opportunity.
How do you think this program will impact your career?
I believe that in the next five to ten years that the Healthcare MBA program will allow me to increase my options for career wise. I would love to start my own consulting firm, and also learn more in a consulting firm, and also have a non-profit organization. And because of the business foundation that I’ve received in my program, I have great tools now to have a successful business and to offer myself as an asset to a corporation.
Put me in front of great opportunities, for example, we had the opportunity to compete in the healthcare … Pfizer healthcare business competition. And because of this program I was able to compete against Harvard students, Georgetown, NYU, Cornell, Columbia students as well as Johns Hopkins. And George Washington’s program gave me every tool I needed to be successful, and we beat Harvard. We came in fifth place, but we beat Harvard students. And a lot of times people don’t you underestimate yourself because of certain names but it prepared me for that. And, not only that, we were able to present in front of Pfizer executives of Latin America. And it gave me the ability to have the confidence now to go in front of corporate heads and present to them and be confident in my work and my abilities.
The opportunity to present for a Latin America Pfizer’s vaccine business unit. And the goal of the program was to have us come up with social media marketing tools to present to executives who really didn’t know what to do. So we had a clean slate to choose what country we wanted to go into and what social media marketing tools that we would use. I worked with four great individuals who brought different assets to the team. And with that we walked out with a great presentation, looking at so many things, like Facebook, Twitter, Orkut and a great marketing plan that could be actually utilized in different corporations. So the goal of the program was to basically get the attention of the executives and give them great ideas, and we were successful in that.
What surprised you the most about online learning?
It was hard. The biggest thing was the biggest surprise was it’s a lot of work. You know, you come in, you think online may be a little bit less intense. Our program was very intense but I enjoyed it. And I think the biggest surprise was that I felt fulfilled after each class and I learned a lot from not only the students but also the course work. And it was very competitive. Surprisingly, with the online program you don’t think that it’s going to be competitive but each student had their own level that you had to meet and increase to be competitive and successful in the program.
What would you tell a friend or a colleague about this program?
I would tell a friend or a colleague to definitely take The George Washington University’s Healthcare MBA program. You have all the resources and support that you need to be successful in the program. You are going to compete against some of the top students in the country. And if you’re desiring to do it, follow your dreams and follow your passions and do it full force. But when go into the program, make sure you give it a hundred and ten percent on a daily basis, don’t be unorganized, make sure you work at it every day, ‘cause it’s easy to get lazy with the online program. So you have to give it your commitment.
What were the most memorable moments in the program?
I think the most memorable moments were the classes that I had such difficulty with, for example, Accounting and Finance. I, by trade, am a science major, I’m a biology major, and so business was totally new to me. And then when you finally get it and the light bulb goes on and your professors are saying, “Great job. You did an awesome job,” and they reward you for that I think finance was probably the hardest. My professor called me from Europe to help me over the phone with finance. And, you know, the little things really count because he cared enough to take time out and to make a long-distance phone call to help me out with finance and he wanted me to succeed. And I treasure that because he could have said, hey, you know, take what you get, but we had about an hour and a half conversation, not only about the course work but what I needed and other students needed to be successful in the program.
How did you balance work, school, and other obligations?
It was very challenging to balance all the obligations of the program for me in the beginning because when I started the program I worked a job that I lived right in my territory. January, when I started the program, I was transferred to a territory that was an hour and a half out from my house. So I had a hour and a half drive to work every day, an hour and a half drive back home. And the way I did that was I took my work to … took my class work to work with me, and during lunch time I would do my readings. I would also once I got home, I would give myself a little bit of free time and I’d start studying about nine o’clock. And I committed each night at least two to three hours a night to my course work. And then, the weekends, I would do something fun for at least two hours and then my time was committed on the weekends to doing my course work. So I would tell any student, whenever you’re doing this program don’t forget to have fun. Because sometimes we get so caught up into the rigmarole of course work that we forget to have fun. And this graduate program is a great thing for you to do but you have to continue to live life.
How did the interaction work with fellow students and faculty?
George Washington has great tools for you to interact with your students, such as webinars. We have internet, Skype, telephone calls, posts where you can read what your fellow classmates are thinking. And in most of my course work such as Professor Tarabishy’s class, entrepreneurship, we used webinars where the first you get on the course you think, oh, he’s not going to call me, you know, so I can kind of sit back and hide out. And he actually calls you, so it’s no different than being in a regular classroom because you have to communicate.
And there was great discussions. For assignments, we would e-mail each other back and forth and put feedback in to what we wanted. You always would make a person the lead to do your editing and so forth. So it was … multiple tools to do that. And, actually, with technology and the way corporations are starting to work, this was a great tool for me to learn how to work offline instead of being in a classroom with someone because companies do this on a daily basis now, because of distance and trying to save money. So this has helped me corporate wise because we do a lot of testing online as well.
Any final thoughts?
I would definitely tell any student who’s seeking to come into The George Washington Healthcare MBA program to take advantage of the resources. And that would go from the technology, the library, the competitions, case competitions, but more importantly the staff and faculty. These individuals really do care about you and they want you to succeed. And you think you’re at a distance but you’re only a phone call away and they have great networking opportunities for you but, more importantly, they want you to succeed and they see you as family, even though you’re thousands of miles away. So that would be my greatest final thought for those individuals looking to come into the program.
I’m just thankful that I actually did the program. It has made me a better person. It has made me a more focused person and, more importantly, it’s made me a more confident business representative for my company.