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Online MBA students Caroline Ryals, Charles Mynard, Cameron Mynard and Seanna Mynard.

In spring 2020, Charles Mynard was coming up on a deadline. Working in information technology for AT&T, he wanted to take advantage of the company’s tuition reimbursement program and admissions deadlines for graduate programs were approaching. A family member suggested Auburn University's Online MBA program. The program’s flexibility drew Mynard’s attention, but he was sold when considering the Auburn Online MBA is both competitively priced and highly ranked. 

Charles was not alone in his decision. He would soon be joined in the program by his twin brother, Cameron Mynard, his sister-in-law Seanna Mynard, and his cousin Caroline Ryals. The “Business Bunch” became each other’s support system through the program.

An online MBA makes sense for young professionals

All four family members are young professionals, working full time while they pursue their MBA degrees through Auburn’s Harbert College of Business

“I’d been working remotely since 2018, so an online program was easy for me to take on,” said Cameron, who finished his MBA in fall 2023. “Learning in the evening and applying it during the day to my job was really beneficial. Working on group projects, I could see people who were already in their careers bringing their day-to-day knowledge. What we learned was immediately applicable in the workplace.”

“I had been looking at MBA programs for some time,” said Seanna, a business development consultant. “At the time, I was working with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and they paid part of the program tuition, so it made sense to continue my education. I’d already proven myself professionally, and I knew it was the right time to enter an MBA program.”

Seanna’s husband, Cameron, an information security specialist for the professional business services company PwC in Tampa, FL, was admitted to the program, too. Cameron had earned his undergraduate degree at  Auburn.

Caroline, who lives in New York City and works as a director of project management for the Spanish-language television network TelevisaUnivision, is taking her time with one course per semester. 

“I’m on the slow-and-steady-wins-the-race model,” Caroline said. “It’s allowed me to contribute to my community responsibilities, work and see my friends all while pursuing my MBA degree.”

In spring 2023, Caroline elected to take the program’s elective International Business Operations allowing her to travel to Ireland for a week to study the country’s business opportunities and challenges while exploring its culture. 

“It was a great experience traveling and working with the other students,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing the other students again when I’m on Auburn’s campus in fall 2024 to present my capstone.”

Professional impact

"The MBA afforded me some more professional credibility. I went from being the young guy on the team to ‘this is our MBA guy on the team,’” Charles said. “The soft skills of time management, taking accountability to have your technology set up for online meetings that I became very practiced at during the online program have set me apart from some of the other folks.”

Charles has become an unofficial recruiter for Harbert’s online MBA at AT&T, encouraging some 15 co-workers to take advantage of the tuition reimbursement program and take the plunge.

“You can approach this program no matter what your background is. I took classes with a pharmaceutical executive, a farmer, a missile engineer for Raytheon,” he said. “Auburn got us up to speed very, very quickly on the skills we’d need to complete the program. In our capstone, we worked with a real business and made real changes to impact how they run their business. The experience was priceless.”

The final stretch

Caroline and Seanna will finish their MBA degrees within the next year and recommend that anyone on the fence about going after the credential consider Harbert.

“Everything about the online MBA program is reasonable: the cost, the time frame, the flexibility of it,” Seanna said. “And it has a great reputation. It was the best value.”

Despite being almost 100% online, the program model facilitates interaction with professors and on-campus students, offering  several opportunities for students to come to campus. 

The Business Bunch has taken advantage of a few opportunities to swing through Auburn for their capstone presentations and a few football games. 

“It was cool to get a chance to visit Auburn and feel connected in that way, but we definitely took advantage of the asynchronous aspect of the program,” Seanna said.

“I live in New York City where there are a lot of universities and a lot of MBA programs; I still chose Auburn,” Caroline said. “I love being a part of this program because of its rich history, and I am proud it continues to be honored for its excellence.”