Though Many Miles from Campus, Student Senses Professors’ Attention

Malena speaking on a cell phone while studying in a living area

A full-time mother of two in Round Rock, Texas, Malena Price, is about to embark on an entirely new career. With her master’s degree in public relations through Ball State Online, she is looking for a PR firm where she can try many roles until she finds her niche. For now, she’s interested in research and evaluation of communication practices.

Q: Why did you choose to continue your education with Ball State University?

After many months of searching for the right program, I found Ball State on the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) website. At the time, Ball State was the only graduate PR program in the U.S. to have their program materials certified by this society. This was extremely important to me because I wanted to find a program that was challenging and that would prepare me for an entirely new career. In my opinion, it doesn’t get any better than this, and so far, Ball State has failed to disappoint.

Q: How will a Ball State degree carry more weight than a degree from other universities? Why?

Previously, I was enrolled in an online master’s level program at a different school. I felt as if I was paying for the degree without ever learning the information. I was basically reading the information and regurgitating it. The PR program at Ball State is the exact opposite. The professors teach. We are provided with lectures and an abundance of additional resources along with actual opportunities to put that knowledge to good use. For those reasons, I think this program provides practical knowledge that can be used immediately, which prepares you for the workplace.

Q: What has been your experience with Ball State professors?

The professors at Ball State are second to none. The entire time I have spent in the program, I have felt that even though I take classes online and I am hundreds of miles away from campus, my professors take an interest in me. I feel that my professors and other classmates realize that online learning students take such classes because of our other priorities, and they have always been super supportive.

Q: Would you recommend Ball State Online to someone else?

Yes! I think Ball State does an excellent job of including the online students in the activities that are going on at the campus. I have sat through many special presentations that are made available online. Also, the online platform is great for those who cannot make it to campus.


M.D. Pursues His MBA to Transition to the Business Side of Health Care

Jonathan Kirkwood knows a thing or two about managing a busy schedule. Between practicing medicine full-time as a hospitalist, starting up and running a boutique biotechnology investment fund, and raising three children with his wife, an OBGYN, he has no time to waste. Which is why pursuing his MBA online with Ball State University was not only ideal but necessary.

“I needed an avenue that offered flexibility on when I could watch lectures. Ball State’s MBA program offers me that flexibility as there are times I am watching them after midnight when I get home from the hospital.”

Kirkwood of Illinois first entertained the idea of pursuing his MBA after switching tracks in his medical career, from a private practice model to an employed physician model. He soon realized it was not the right arrangement for him. He reflected on his competitive advantages and knowledge base – concluding that he had the skills, experience, and specializations needed to work in biotechnology; however, he’d need to advance his education in business.

To do this, he enrolled in Ball State’s online MBA program, choosing to concentrate in finance and health economics and policy. While he is currently taking courses, Kirkwood has already found value in what he has learned.

“The education has further solidified the foundation of business principles I had garnered through experience in building and managing hospitalist programs. I now have a greater understanding of ‘why’ we came to the decisions we did in the past. The rounded education has also been a good catalyst in my current venture in understanding emerging biotechnology equities.”

On top of the valuable information he has already gained, Kirkwood credits his advisor, director of MBA and certificate programs Jason Webber and the faculty with helping him to succeed and manage courses around his busy schedule.

“He [Webber] has really optimized my schedule for my pursuit of knowledge in the time constraints of my current life. There have been several times where I needed to take courses in a different order. Also, several professors have been quite engaging in discussing my vision and my approach to investing.”

Although he isn’t due to graduate with his MBA until 2019, Kirkwood has already taken a big career step forward with what he has learned so far in the program by launching Indiana’s first boutique biotechnology investment fund – Kirkwood Scherer Capital Ventures – earlier this year.

Kirkwood credits his time in the MBA with accelerating this process and providing him with the knowledge base and flexibility he needs to run a successful business, practice medicine, and raise a family – all on his time.


The Master of Business Administration at Ball State – offered either online, on-campus, or as a blend of both – delivers all the practical and rigorous experiences necessary to excel in today’s global and digital economy. It is ranked No.16 Best Online MBA program in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

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