Attending an online university requires students and faculty to work harder to connect. Instead of getting to know someone face-to-face in a classroom, engagement must happen through forum posts, emails, phone calls and chat sessions.
However, there is one exceptional opportunity for faculty and students to meet face-to-face: graduation. This year, American Public University System, which consists of American Military University and American Public University, is holding its annual commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 18 at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland.
What led you to choose a master’s degree with APU? Was it based on passion or a specific career goal?
I have a bachelor’s degree in statistics and a graduate degree in data security from Iraq. However, both of these degrees weren’t enough to help me find a job in the United States after I came here in 2009.
I decided to pursue my studies and get a higher academic degree. Academic credentials are highly in demand in today’s job market.
I did research on what would be the best degree for me and not only from the job market’s perspective. The degree needed to be affordable. It had to be done while I worked at Walmart.
After all my research, I figured out that studying at APU for an MBA degree in global business management was a good choice. From what I’ve gained, I can say it was the best choice.
Tell us about your position at Walmart.
I’m a replenishment manager at Walmart’s Home Office – the Sporting Goods department. My responsibilities are at a high level. I ensure that we have the right items at the right stores with the right price and right quantities at the right time.
Did your degree with APU help prepare you for specific challenges you’ve come across in your current position?
Each of our MBA classes required research and discussions. The subject of most of my research was Walmart: I always needed to know more about Walmart.
By the end of my studies, I had accumulated a wide knowledge of Walmart. That helped me in obtaining my current position at the Walmart Home Office. It also helps me every day in accomplishing and managing my job’s responsibilities and tasks.
See more of Jalal’s story in the video below.
What are the biggest challenges in your industry?
The retail industry is the biggest industry in the United States and in the world. Almost all of the other industries depend on retail to sell their products and services.
Walmart is #1 as a Fortune 500 company worldwide. It’s also the biggest store in the retail industry and the world. But there are always challenges in any industry; the biggest challenge in retail is the other competitors.
What are two key pieces of advice you would pass on to someone new to online education?
The most important advice I’d give is to understand your class requirements and needs. Take enough time before the class starts to read the class syllabus carefully. Understand the class and your instructor’s requirements and expectations. Be sure to know what book is required and order it early so it gets to you before the first day in class. Know the most important due dates. Don’t forget to enter your class in the first week and introduce yourself to the class and to your instructor.
What is your favorite thing about online learning?
The most important thing in learning online is the flexibility. You can attend your class any day of the week, at any time you want, from anywhere in the world.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have many hobbies and interests for my narrow amount of free time. I like sports such as swimming, horseback riding and soccer. I’m also a licensed judge for the International Shooting Sport Federation and volunteer for different organizations.
What have you been doing since earning your degree at AMU?
Since I earned my degree, I have enjoyed spending more time with my family. I also network with colleagues within the public affairs community and accept more of the leadership opportunities available in public affairs, strategic communication and outreach.
What led you to choose a master’s degree with AMU?
In 2005, I completed a two-year program to earn the International Association of Business Communicator’s ‘Accreditation in Business Communication’ designation. Since that peer-awarded designation provided me with functional credibility, I sought a master’s degree program that provided complementary operational skills. AMU and its emergency and disaster management program caught my interest because of the program’s flexibility and the necessary operational element of communication before, during and after a crisis.
By Ryan Laspina Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
Deciding that you want to attend college is one of the biggest decisions you’ll face in your adult life. And once you’ve decided to go to college, you have to make another huge decision: Which college or university will you attend?
There are thousands of colleges and universities in the United States. Picking the school that is right for you is no easy task and feels overwhelming.
How do you start the decision-making process? Here are some different factors to think about when you’re determining which college or university to attend.
What have you been doing since earning your M.A. in Security Management at AMU?
I received my master’s degree in 2013 as I prepared for my transition from a public sector career in law enforcement to private sector security management. I retired in 2013 as a Supervisory Special Agent in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) after 24 years of service and 11 years as a police officer in a metropolitan police department in the greater Chicago area.
I began working for American Military University as a consultant on the private sector security initiative team. Later, the University of St. Francis hired me as the Director of Safety, Security and Transportation. I’ve been there since then.
Sometimes having the support of your family and friends isn’t enough to carry on with the day-to-day responsibilities of classwork. If they aren’t actively participating in the class readings, papers and class discussions they won’t be able to relate and share sound advice and restrictions to follow. What you need as an online student is a pacing buddy. This person should be sharing in the same goals as you, a degree or certificate completion, and should also have the same level of motivation. Finding the right pairing is key to making this type of relationship work.
What have you been up to since earning your degree at APU?
Receiving my master’s degree from APU was a pinnacle in my life. This degree enabled me to work for several land management agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service. To assist the USFWS motto in conservation management, I served at the USFWS National Conservation Training Center as a training technician and delivered content on resource management, sustainability and conservation. From there, I began working for the state side of fish and wildlife management for the Management Assistance Team in Shepherdstown, WV.
Presently, I am a park ranger working for the National Park Service as a Biological Science Technician. The knowledge and resources I obtained from earning my degree at APU gave me the ability to work for land management agencies and focus on resource management and conservation in a field I am passionate about.
One of the first bits of information you receive from the university is the course progression for your program. Taking courses in the recommended order helps you build a strong academic foundation, so you progress through your program with the academic knowledge you need to succeed in your classes.
Why Foundations of Online Learning Should Be Your First Course
The reason COLL100 (Foundations of Online Learning) is recommended first is because it provides necessary information about how to interact and succeed in our online environment. You’re introduced to the classroom, library, and other basic university information that you’ll need to know as a university student.