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“I assumed that any MBA program would be too constraining for my schedule… Then I heard from a friend about UoPeople.”

David Koerner,
MBA Student at UoPeople

Student Reviews: What It's Like to Study at University of the People - An Interview with David Koerner, Director at Large of the Penn State Alumni Society Board, MBA Student at UoPeople


Q: Why did you choose to study at UoPeople?

A: I completed my undergraduate degree in 2006 and went immediately into the workforce as a marketer – first in sales and new business development and then in M&A, product marketing and finally digital marketing. Along the way, I had considered going for my MBA at a local college like many of my colleagues, but my obligations kept making this impossible.

I was transferred briefly to Dubai and then began to spend more of my time on the road. Eventually, I accepted a job in Colorado at a small startup and my time became even more limited.

"I assumed that any MBA program would be too constraining for my schedule… I had decided that getting my MBA would be impossible. Then I heard from a friend about UoPeople."

Currently, I commute regularly from my home in Denver to San Francisco, and I'm managing the launch of a revolutionary new financial services product in Jamaica, India, and the UAE.

I assumed that any MBA program would be too constraining for my schedule and come with huge opportunity costs. Because of this, I had decided that getting my MBA would be impossible. Then I heard from a friend about UoPeople. I immediately wanted to be part of the first class and to prove that an online education is a viable and desirable alternative for working professionals like me.

Q: Can you tell us about your first degree?

A: I graduated from Penn State with a degree in Marketing and a minor in Business Law. I had a 3.5 GPA and was active in student leadership. I'm currently a Director at Large of the Penn State Alumni Society Board. I speak several times a year to undergrads and graduates at Penn State about marketing and innovation.

"UoPeople is challenging global norms of what education should be about."

Q: How would you describe UoPeople?

UoPeople is challenging global norms of what education should be about. It is trading freedom and flexibility for comfort and familiarity. What it takes to get a consistently high score is always evolving. No one tells you where to go. You have to show initiative and figure things out on your own.

Based on my experience, this is exactly what is required to succeed in the real world.

"Based on my experience, this is exactly what is required to succeed in the real world."

Q: What was your favorite thing about studying at UoPeople?

A: Flexibility. I've written and graded papers from my car via hotspot on long road trips. I've sent off messages about group projects using Wi-Fi from restaurants in Santiago Chile or Kingston, Jamaica; and posted replies to class discussions from an airline tray-table more times than I can count.

Since starting this MBA program I have been reading continuously on a PC, phone, iPad or laptop to stay ahead in class.

It's an interesting and exciting experience to realize as I prepare for my final papers that I haven't paid a dime for the program.

Q: How do you think your degree from UoPeople will help you in the future?

A: I think my MBA will help in three ways. First, I'd like to be a CMO someday, and the solid business fundamentals that I'm learning here are absolutely critical for this. Someday, when I'm in charge of more than a small team, I plan to encourage all my direct reports without an MBA to get one from an affordable program like UoPeople and expand their knowledge base.

I've been lucky to have had a wide variety of roles in my career (more than many of my peers), but my course of study at UoPeople has expanded my knowledge into areas I had not yet experienced, such as, accounting, finance, and supply chain.

Second, I plan on continuing my education. Currently, I am managing industrial design and packaging, videos, advertising and creative, UX/UI, web design, etc. I would love to get a second Master's Degree in design. I've also served as a sales trainer and have long wanted to take classes in education.

Before UoPeople it would have been impossible for me to think about the new opportunities that are available to me.

Finally, I believe in bringing a framework for marketing-thinking to students in developing countries via online courses. This will empower a new generation of business leaders and entrepreneurs to think about marketing in a hyper-local way.