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Nearly every industry has embraced the power of social media, to the point that social media-related job skills are not only an asset, but an expectation. Universities are responding by offering social media courses and programs including online MBA concentrations in social media.

Dawn Colby, vice president of relationship management at Prudential Financial, is currently pursuing her MBA online at Excelsior College. Set to complete her degree in December, Colby has taken advantage of Excelsior’s social media courses.

Colby earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. She chose to pursue an MBA in the midst of an advanced and accomplished career. Though an MBA is not required for her leadership role, Colby said she is fulfilling her belief in lifelong learning.

Q: Why were you attracted to the Excelsior social media online MBA program?

Colby: I was attracted to the Excelsior online MBA program as it was an option to maintain an element of balance in my professional career and personal life. My concentration is in Business, and the social media course was an elective I was very interested in to expand my knowledge of the social media evolution and its impact on business.

Q: As social media continues to evolve, how do you predict that you will be able to apply what you learned in your MBA to future iterations of social media?

Colby: I have applied what I learned in the social media class in an ongoing fashion by getting more comfortable with social platforms and expanding my professional and personal use. I do believe that social media will continue to evolve and become part of the everyday norm of conducting business in a global economy and as personal tools in managing daily activities. I predict social tools and the business analytics around data will advance the ways organizations connect and engage with customers, adding value in a personalized manner.

Q: What kinds of projects have you worked on, and what have you learned from them?

Colby: I worked on learning and understanding various social platforms in the course, and set up a LinkedIn account which I continue to manage and expand professional relationships.

Q: How has the convenience of the online program enhanced your learning experience or helped you in your daily life?

Colby: Again, it goes back to balance between my professional and personal life. I would not have been in a position to enroll in a traditional MBA classroom program as my career involves a great deal of travel.


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Q: What was the biggest surprise? What was different from your expectations?

Colby: The biggest surprise for me was that I discovered qualities about myself such as how resilient I am. As a busy professional, wife and mother of three, I was able to make the decision to enroll in an online MBA program with the support of my family and work toward a degree over three years. I am excited to share what I have learned with others and I support associates in their personal development aspirations.

Q: Finally, what advice do you have for potential MBA students?

Colby: Advice I would offer to potential MBA students would be to explore options that work for you and don’t let the thought of being too busy stop you from pursuing an MBA. It is doable with the right program, like the one I found with Excelsior. I try to inspire and encourage others to do their best and not limit themselves.

Follow Elise Rambaud Marrion on Twitter @elisermarrion.