Before giving an assessment, please allow me to present the following facts: I do not work for Strayer; I currently hold an undergraduate degree from Strayer, and lastly, I am also currently enrolled in Strayer's online Masters of Science in Accounting program. Now that this has been established, I would like to move forward to the review.
In 2005 I graduated from a junior college (Community College) with a degree in business. Like most individuals, I immediately entered the work force. I was able... Read More
The search proved to be difficult as well as tiring. For instance, most of the local universities were willing to accept all my junior college credits, but did not have flexibility in their class schedules. This proved to be challenging, considering as a father, I have to provide for--at the time--a five year old child. As a manager, most of my days of work ended approximately at 7pm. Commute time from work, was 30 to 45 minutes based on traffic. So most of the time, by the time I arrived home, it was time to help my son with his homework, and then eat dinner as a family with his mother. I began to ask myself: how can I fit classes into this hectic schedule of life? Needless to say, I was at a proverbial "dead-end."
It was not until I had a conversation with one of my friends-who coincidently graduated from the same local university that I was trying to enroll in--change my life forever. As it turns out, my friend was in the same "boat" as I was in, and was trying to attain his MBA, however because of class scheduling, and family constraints could not attend the school. In the conversation, he told me about Strayer University, and how the online classes allowed him the flexibility to attend class, while at the same attending to family matters.
So in blind faith, I gave it a try. In the beginning, I was skeptical and very negative about the process. But after meeting with the student support, I felt at ease about the situation. So in the fall of 2010 I enrolled Strayer University. As with everything, there was a huge learning curve, in adjusting to the online learning. From making sure to log-in to participate in the weekly discussions, to taking the timed quizzes, Strayer proved to be academically challenging. What was also difficult to adapt to, was the APA format. Most of the Strayer alumni who read this, will understand. My first two quarters at Strayer were very successful. Unfortunately, that was not the case for my job. After five years of service for the rental car company, they decided to terminate my job. Like most individuals in 2011, I was unemployed.
In keeping a positive spirit, I used this timely wisely and updated my resume. One of the sections that needed updating was "Education." Although I did not possess a Bachelor's Degree, I felt it was important to put I was attending Strayer to at least illustrate to employers I was still continuing my education. Once my resume was complete, I decided it was time to go job hunting.
In utilizing all my networking channels, I finally received a positive lead. It came in the form of a flyer that my mom left on the bed in my old bedroom as a child. On the flyer, my mother wrote: "attend this job fair, because it is for the government, and the government has better health plans, and benefits than private sector and so forth." I thought to myself, "I have a lot gain and nothing to lose!" That weekend I attended the government job fair and with several copies of my resume, with my best suit. During the fair I met plenty of recruiters; some from the Department of Labor, Department of Treasury, and Department of Defense. I made sure to speak with every recruiter with a hand-shake and a smile. I also gave a brief presentation of my skills and experience as a manager. The one agency that actually showed interest was the Department of Treasury. Although I was not offered any job, I left the job fair feeling at least I gave it a shot.
A week later, to my surprise the Department of Treasury called with a job offer as a Human Resource Specialist. I was in so much disbelief about the offer, that I began to think to myself they had the wrong candidate. So many thoughts were processing in my head: "how can this be? I only have an Associates Degree." Finally, the recruiter mentioned that my past experience, along with me attending Strayer and working on my Bachelors, were the determining factors.
It has been a year later; I am still employed with the Department of Treasury. Furthermore I graduated from Strayer with my Bachelor's in Business. I have also performed really well in the HR role--so much, that now I am receiving training as a Supervisory Accountant. The agency will offer tuition reimbursement for my classes as long as I maintain a 3.0 GPA. By far this has been up and down roller coaster ride this past couple of years. And finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
For the skeptics who read this, and think: "this story is full of fluff" and/or "it is Hollywood scripted." I can truly attest to you, that Strayer played an integral role in the recruiter's decision in hiring me. Concerning the critics of Strayer and other online platforms, suggesting these are not reputable: I am proof that my Strayer Degree has afforded me a opportunity of gainful employment, it has also allowed me a tremendous work/life balance, and it has also allowed me to spend more time with my family.
To make a generalization that online programs are inadequate because they are not AACSB accredited is at best inaccurate. This type of language --in my personal opinion--should be left out of scholarly discussion, because it creates anxiety for students who are already experiencing challenges of everyday life. I find these types of post to be unmindful and at the same time abrasive. If accreditation was really important, why did the Department of Treasury hire me? If accreditation was really important, why did the agency start me off with a salary that exceeds what some MBA graduates make from accredited universities? Many skeptics in return, may suggest my story is the "exception to the rule, or here is case where "someone snuck through the cracks." To these skeptics I ask you this: where is your proof? Where is your evidence? Provide me with one shred of evidence that supports your case. Where are your references that support your stance.
The irony in all of this is that Strayer gives students the one key ingredient in order to gain success. It was this same ingredient that our founding fathers used when exploring America for the first time— that ingredient was called opportunity.
Lastly, let us all not forget about the power of technology where it is going. Technology is rapidly changing the world. Social Media allows us to connect to friends across vast distances. Music can now be downloaded in two minutes from iTunes. GPS gives us the confidence to travel afar. Hospitals are now emailing X-Rays to India, to save money on personnel expense. Google is now experimenting with a driverless car. And now, E-learning gives students the opportunity to get an education while in the comfort of your own home. Folks, we are in a transitional period where things are changing right in front of us. Online schools are not going anywhere, and will continue to thrive.
In fact most brick and mortar schools are recognizing the benefits of online learning and are now implementing them in their programs. In fact Harvard University is running a test pilot program of its own. Rutgers University has its own online Accounting program. So here are crystal clear examples of mainstream universities adopting E-Learning. Concerning prospective students reading this post: do your research! E-learning may not be the best option for you. If that is the case, brick and mortar is always available.