Sarah Rose

Sarah Rose Harrill, graduate of the WebMBA program at Georgia College

This week’s special guest saw value in getting an MBA and decided go back to school in the midst of her career. However, as we all know, life happens. While juggling a job and Georgia College’s WebMBA program, Sarah learned her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Despite the challenges, she made it work. Sarah Rose shares her personal and WebMBA experiences with guest host Jon Waterhouse.

Transcript of Show

Speaker 1: 00:02
It’s time for Lenz on Business with Richard Lenz on News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. Exploring Atlanta’s business leaders’ inspiring stories, lessons learned, and tips for growth and success. (singing)

Jon Waterhouse: 00:26
It’s time for Business Talk on WSB. Welcome to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse, filling in for Richard Lenz. Our special guest this week saw great value in getting an MBA and decided to go back to school in the midst of her career, but as we all know life happens and while juggling a job and an online degree, her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Despite the challenges, she made it work. Please welcome, Sarah Rose, to Lenz on Business this week. Hey, Sarah, how are you doing?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 01:05
I’m doing great, Jon. Thank you so much for having me today.

Jon Waterhouse: 01:08
Well, thanks so much for coming in. In 2018, she completed her master’s degree in Business Administration through the WebMBA Program at Georgia College. Sarah Rose has used this degree to advance her career as a healthcare administrator at Emory Healthcare. Also, in 2018, Sarah Rose began Emory’s management development program. This three to five-year program shapes future leaders of Emory Healthcare by providing mentorship, exposure, hands-on project experience, management, and leadership opportunities, and a strong professional network.

Well, Sarah Rose, great to see you today. Thank you again for coming into the WSB studios. First, tell us a little bit about what made you want to go back to school and what impact did you see in getting an MBA would have on your career?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 02:02
Yeah. Absolutely. I finished my bachelor’s degree in 2014. I actually studied exercise science and kinesiology. I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare space, but I wasn’t sure in exactly what capacity as most 22-year-olds are still figuring it out at that point in time. I started working at Emory and I determined that I really had a passion and a drive for the healthcare administration side of the business as opposed to the clinical side so was looking at what I could do to bolster my bachelor’s degree, which was obviously much more leaning in the clinical direction than the administration direction.

I determined that I wanted to look for a master’s program, either an MHA or an MBA, ended up deciding that the MBA was the better fit for me personally. I’m married to an entrepreneur, so it was kind of a, “Hey, this can work for my career but also work for my family.” I was looking at different MBA programs, found the Georgia WebMBA Program, which is accelerated, something you can do while you’re working full time. Academically rigorous because that was important to me.

Then, what to eyes did appear, but Georgia College was one of the universities that participated in this program, and after getting my bachelor’s degree there, I felt a connection to that university, in particular, and it just felt like the natural next step for me. The Georgia College team has … I just can’t say enough good things about the support they provide to the students and to the families.

I called Lynn Hanson one afternoon, I think at 5:30 and fully expected to get a call back maybe the next week, but she called me back 10 minutes later and already knew, “Hey, I saw you went here for undergrad. Let’s talk about that. How can I help you? What can we do to make this an easy experience?” It all fell together perfectly.

Jon Waterhouse: 04:11
Georgia College has great national rankings. In fact, collegechoice.net ranks it as the number two best online college in Georgia. Was that one of the reasons that you chose-

Sarah Rose Harrill: 04:24
Absolutely. Yes.

Jon Waterhouse: 04:24
… Georgia College for your WebMBA?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 04:26
Of course. When I looked at the WebMBA Program, I looked at the six different schools that participate and what their rankings were, but then also what their requirements were for … what GPA you would have to maintain, what type of scores you needed to get in, etcetera, and Georgia College was really at the top of the list as far as needing a higher GPA to graduate, having a higher standard for the students that they would be admitting.

It was an obvious choice to me. One of the other things that I really like about the WebMBA Program that I’ll just touch on shortly is that it’s team-based. I worked on a team with … there were six of us total. Five other individuals who actually were doing the same WebMBA Program with me, but were going to different universities. I worked with students that were going to Valdosta State. I worked with students that were going to Kennesaw State. It was interesting to see their perspective on a lot of the things that we were doing, but then also it highlighted that Georgia College gave me access to a lot of resources that other universities didn’t provide that were going through the same system.

Jon Waterhouse: 05:39
Got you. Well, you’re listening to Lenz on Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse. Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business offers top-ranked online graduate business programs including MBA, master of logistics and supply chain management, and master of management information systems. Learn more at gcsu.edu/business.

This week we’re talking with Sarah Rose, a graduate of the Georgia College WebMBA Program. Now, Sarah, let’s talk a little bit about the affordability of Georgia College’s WebMBA Program. I know they’ve received some rankings as one of the most affordable programs out there. Did that play into your choosing?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 06:27
Absolutely. My husband and I are in our mid-20s and we’re both relatively new in our career paths. When I started talking about going back for a graduate degree, the tuition cost was obviously a big factor in that decision. The Georgia WebMBA Program was extremely affordable, and it was a realistic thing to fit into our budget. So realistic, in fact, that my husband also decided to go back for his graduate degree at the same time.

Jon Waterhouse: 07:06
Really?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 07:07
Yes. He did. When I was about halfway through my WebMBA Program, he started his graduate degree in design. It goes to show that we were able to balance both of those degrees while still being really very young in our careers.

Jon Waterhouse: 07:26
As you mentioned earlier, you went to Georgia College as an undergrad and lived on campus. Can you compare and contrast the campus experience versus working remote and online?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 07:37
Yeah, absolutely. I’m glad you asked that. When I went to Georgia College for my undergraduate degree, I actually transferred in from Appalachian State University. I was coming in my sophomore year, new kid on the block, kind of missed out on a lot of that orientation stuff that you get your freshman year. But I looked at it as an opportunity to just jump in both feet and immerse myself in the college and the student life.

I was extremely involved on campus and did things like student government and the leadership programs and sorority and all of that. I loved being that busy. I really lived by the motto of “the more you do the more you can do.” I was extremely involved on campus and just loved everything about it. My husband and my friends will tease me and say I actually got my bachelor’s degree in Georgia College, not kinesiology.

That was one thing that I was a little anxious about going into the online master’s program. I had taken some online courses as an undergrad, but just maybe two or three and didn’t have a negative experience with them, but was just worried that I wouldn’t have that same connection to this school and wouldn’t really feel like a student being so far away. I will give all the credit to the administrative support at Georgia College, but then also to the professors in the program.

They have done everything they can to make sure that you’re so engaged no matter where you are. The classes that I took, I was taught by instructors from these six different university system schools. One semester I could have a professor from Valdosta State and another professor from Georgia College. The next semester it would shuffle. All of the professors in the program did a fantastic job and there are so many resources available now that with online classes, you can have live video streaming, you can have a more interactive experience with your professor than you could in the past.

Jon Waterhouse: 09:54
I definitely want to talk more about the support later on in the show, but I know when it comes to going back to school, folks who have been out of the university system, out of college for some time often become intimidated by the fact that they have to take any sort of placement exams such as the GRE and I understand that Georgia College’s WebMBA offers a GRE waiver. Did you opt for one?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 10:21
I actually did not need to opt for one because I had taken the GRE within … I think it’s within the last three years they will take it.

Jon Waterhouse: 10:21
Got you. Okay.

Sarah Rose Harrill: 10:29
I took it when I was still working on my bachelor’s degree, knew that I was interested in maybe doing a graduate program, wasn’t sure exactly what so I just wanted to take the GRE once to see what I was getting myself into more than anything else and thankfully, did well enough on that and it was recent enough that they would still take it. The one thing that I did take advantage of is they actually have short courses that you can take if you didn’t already have the prerequisite courses.

For example, I got my bachelor’s degree in kinesiology. I didn’t take a whole lot of finance courses in my undergrad, and as a result, I was a little bit anxious going into this program with the finance and the accounting classes and I was able to take … I think it was an eight-week like quick course before I started the WebMBA Program through Georgia College that allowed me to be up to speed and ready to go.

Jon Waterhouse: 11:27
Sounds fantastic. Well you’re listening to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse. This week we’re talking with Sarah Rose, a graduate of the Georgia College WebMBA Program. We’re going to be learning more about Sarah Rose’s experiences through her participation in the Georgia College WebMBA Program in just a few moments. We’ll be back after the break. (singing)

Richard Lenz: 11:56
Hi. This is Richard Lenz and you’re listening to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. Visit them at gcsu.edu/business. Again, that’s gcsu.edu/business. (singing)

Jon Waterhouse: 12:27
Welcome back. We’ve got more for you on this week’s episode of Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse, and this week we’re talking with Sarah Rose. In 2018, she completed her master’s degree in Business Administration through the WebMBA Program at Georgia College. Sarah Rose has used this degree to advance her career as a healthcare administrator at Emory Healthcare.

Also, in 2018, Sarah Rose began Emory’s management development program. This three to five-year program shapes future leaders of Emory Healthcare by providing mentorship, exposure, hands-on project experience, management and leadership opportunities, and a strong professional network. Now, Sarah Rose, let’s talk a little bit about the pros and cons of participating in an online degree. I know there are some skepticism out there. Well, let’s share your own experience and your own thoughts.

Sarah Rose Harrill: 13:29
Yeah, absolutely. I’m a big pro and con list girl.

Jon Waterhouse: 13:33
Yeah?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 13:35
It’s part of a lot of my decision making.

Jon Waterhouse: 13:38
You’ve got the spreadsheet going.

Sarah Rose Harrill: 13:39
I’ve got spreadsheets. It’s color-coded. It’s beautiful. I definitely made a pro and a con list when looking for master’s programs. I would encourage everyone to take a step back and think about what’s realistic for your lifestyle. I looked at mine and I work in healthcare and taking care of patients does not work on an 8:00 to 5:00 schedule necessarily. Life happens and I need to be available when those things happen.

For me, the time was a big component of this decision. One of the big pros of an online program is that you do have a little bit more time built-in naturally because you’re doing this at your convenience for the most part, in your home, at work, listening to lectures while you’re driving and sitting in Atlanta traffic, all of that. The fact that I could do it on my own time, for the most part, was very important to me.

Another aspect of the WebMBA Program, in particular, is that a lot of it was asynchronous. I worked on a team of six people, but I could do my piece when it fit into my schedule, and then my teammates would do the same thing. We didn’t necessarily have to all call in at the same time for this class every single week. It was more you get the schedule at the start of the semester and you plan accordingly.

One of the other things that could be a pro or a con, depending on who you are, is it requires a lot of self-discipline. I’m a scheduler by nature, so I built time into my schedule to be able to do everything that I needed to do, and I was always happy when we were able to turn things in early. That isn’t necessarily the same for all folks so depending on who you are that could be a pro or a con.

One of the other things that I was really anxious about before starting this program was whether or not I would still have that same support with Georgia College, the administration, the WebMBA staff. Thankfully, I really had a wonderful experience and felt they were with me every step of the way, so that turned out to not be a con for me either.

Jon Waterhouse: 16:02
After the break, we’re going to learn more about that support provided by Georgia College’s WebMBA staff. You’re listening to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse. This week we’re talking with Sarah Rose, a graduate of the Georgia College WebMBA Program. Stick around for more. (singing)

Richard Lenz: 16:29
Hi. This is Richard Lenz and you’re listening to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. Visit them at gcsu.edu/business. Again, that’s gcsu.edu/business. (singing)

Jon Waterhouse: 16:54
Welcome back to Lenz on Business. We’ve got more business talk for you here on WSB. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse. Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business offers top-ranked online graduate business programs including MBA, master of logistics and supply chain management, and master of management information systems. Learn more at gcsu.edu/business.

This week we’re talking with Sarah Rose, and in 2018, she completed her master’s degree in Business Administration through the WebMBA Program at Georgia College. Sarah Rose has used this degree to advance her career as a healthcare administrator at Emory Healthcare here in Atlanta. Sarah Rose, let’s talk a little bit about the support that you received at Georgia College through the WebMBA Program. I can imagine that that would be a concern for some people.

Sarah Rose Harrill: 17:55
Absolutely.

Jon Waterhouse: 17:55
Working remotely, working online, are you going to have that interaction with the support staff, with the professors? Can you kind of give your personal experience and thoughts regarding that?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 18:06
Of course. Now, when we talk about support, we really need to give credit to a lot of different folks, at least, in my personal journey. The Georgia College staff was spectacular. I reached out on more than one occasion over the 18 months with questions or concerns or needing clarification and I always got a response extremely fast and thorough responses at that. I truly can’t say enough about how wonderful the team at Georgia College is.

Next, moving onto the WebMBA staff, that support staff is equally fantastic. But I really want to focus on the professors because I don’t think they get enough of the glory. The professors in the WebMBA Program are extremely responsive. These are busy people that are often teaching in-person classes, doing their own research, all of these other things going on, much like the students working full time, doing other things at … family, all of that.

All of the professors that I had through this program were responsive, receptive. We had a unique situation wherein halfway through my degree, my husband was actually diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and kicked us in the gut as it would anybody. I looked at him and said, “Do you want me to put this on hold? Should we … what’s going to be the right decision for our family?”

We talked about it and based off the support that I had from Georgia College and from the professors, and also from my teammates, I was able to complete my degree, continuing to go full time, continue to work full time and also being a caregiver for my husband. I can’t thank those people enough for everything they did for my family to support us during that time. My teammates, in particular, are fantastic.

One of the great things about this WebMBA Program is that with it being team-based, you’re going through a lot of these experiences together. One of the things that I really loved about my team is that of the six of us, we were all in very different phases of our lives. We were in different industries, we were across the country in different geographic places, and they were fantastic. I was able to bring my own unique skill set to the table and I was able to learn from their skill sets.

The support of having different people going through the program with you at the same time and taking the same classes with the same professors, and dealing with the same life events, just can’t emphasize how important that is.

Jon Waterhouse: 20:54
Folks, you’re listening to Lenz on Business here on WSB presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse, and this week we’re chatting with Sarah Rose, a graduate of the Georgia College WebMBA Program.

Now, Sarah Rose, let’s talk a little bit about the stresses that you faced, not only balancing a career, but as you said your husband’s cancer diagnosis while working on your master’s degree, and let’s talk a little bit about how that all works and how that came to play with Georgia College’s WebMBA Program?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 21:33
Yeah, absolutely. We got the diagnosis when I was in the middle of my fourth of the five semesters. I was about halfway through the program and I was very honest with the team at Georgia College and they were not one of the first calls, but they definitely got a call the week that we got our diagnosis. I just wanted them to know, “Hey, this is something that’s going on. We have zero control over it so it may impact my ability to do what I needed to do for classes. It may not, it may be totally fine, but I just want to make sure that you all are aware of this.”

The support that they provided was amazing. I was also very straightforward with my professors because I wanted them to know I’m going to do my best to work ahead and stay ahead of all of this, but we could be going along our day and get a call and we have to be at the hospital. There’s so much that you have no control over and being a bit of a control freak myself, that was a valuable lesson to learn.

The timing maybe could have been better but … Life happens and that’s one of the things that we talked about when we went to orientation for the WebMBA is there are going to be life events over these next 18 months. You hope they’re really good ones. You hope people have babies and exciting promotions happen. We had those too within our group. But there are also some not so great ones that happen, and it just shows the resilience and it’s … I look at it as a character-building opportunity.

It was more about how can I prioritize my time and the things in my life so that I’m able to exert the appropriate amount of energy as a wife, as a professional, as a student, and working down that line every day. Some days worked really well, some days did not go according to plan at all. Having the ability to give yourself grace and give everyone in your environment grace was also key to get through that experience.

Jon Waterhouse: 23:48
What sort of advice would you give a 30 something aged professional who’s considering a graduate degree?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 23:55
I would definitely encourage people to look at what their priorities are in their life, what their lifestyle is like, what types of things are deal breakers for them when looking at programs. For me, weekend classes or night classes was a deal-breaker. I just didn’t have that type of ability to walk away from work and truly be done and not know that I would have to get … not get a call and have to come back in.

I knew that weekend classes weren’t something that I was able to do, and also I didn’t really want to do. I wanted to do my schoolwork in my pajamas, on my couch on the weekends instead of going into class. I would also encourage folks to understand that this is a commitment to yourself and to your teammates and your professors and your family. Understanding and building in the time into your schedule each week. Ideally, building that time in at the start of the week so that when everything goes not according to plan, you have more days in the week to finish whatever you need to do.

Then, finally, to use your resources. Look at the different schools, look at the different programs, determine which schools are going to provide the support that you need for your life and jump in. Just go for it.

Jon Waterhouse: 25:29
You’re listening to Lenz on Business here on WSB presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse, and this week we’re chatting with Sarah Rose, a graduate of the Georgia College WebMBA Program. Now, Sarah Rose, can you tell us a little bit about how your WebMBA has had an impact on your job?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 25:52
Absolutely. No. I would love to talk about that because I’ve been very blessed. I’ve been with Emory Healthcare for four and a half years now and decided that I wanted to get a master’s degree. One of the influencing factors on that decision was the desire to do Emory’s management development program. The three to five-year program, the requirement being that you get exposure to a lot of different things about the healthcare industry and ideally shaping you to be one of the next leaders of the organization.

I actually did this degree partially in order to do that program. Thankfully, I was able to work within our Employer Health Solutions Department. Emory has relationships with over 150 different companies and we have everything from onsite clinics at those organizations to managing the healthcare of their employees.

Also, our executive health program, which was established in 1995. It’s different from normal primary care. It’s more efficient care, coordinated, holistic and comprehensive than traditional medicine. We really pride ourselves on the work that we do and we’re ranked in the top 1% of patient satisfaction according to Press Ganey scores.

All of the work that I did in my MBA program, I am able to apply to my work now, which is great. You learn it in the classroom, you do projects where you apply it, but then getting to actually apply those skills in your real life is so much cooler. Being able to take skills that I learned from different professors and apply them to the healthcare industry, healthcare is a business so we do have to keep that in mind in everything we do and the clientele that I get to work with, in particular, gives me a lot more opportunity to do that.

Jon Waterhouse: 27:52
Folks, you’re listening to Lenz on Business here on WSB and marketing matters, Lenz knows marketing. From brand strategy to advertising, digital marketing, to public relations. Think smart. Think creative. Think Lenz. Learn more at lenzmarketing.com. This is guest host, Jon Waterhouse, and this week we’re talking with Sarah Rose, a graduate of the Georgia College WebMBA Program. Stick around. We’ve got more of Sarah Rose after the break. (singing)

Richard Lenz: 28:30
Hi. This is Richard Lenz and you’re listening to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. Visit them at gcsu.edu/business. Again, that’s gcsu.edu/business. (singing)

Jon Waterhouse: 28:59
Welcome back to Lenz on Business here on WSB. We’ve got some business talk for you presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. I’m guest host, Jon Waterhouse, and this week we’ve been talking with Sarah Rose. In 2018, she completed her master’s degree in Business Administration through the WebMBA Program at Georgia College. She’s used this degree to advance her career as a healthcare administrator at Emory healthcare.

Now, Sarah Rose, we were talking earlier about time management when you’re completing your WebMBA. Let’s talk about competing priorities. You’ve mentioned competing priorities, how do you handle that in the midst of an MBA program like this?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 29:45
Hopefully with tact. I think one thing that really … when you’re looking at graduate programs, you think, “Okay, I’m going to do this. It’s going to exist in this bubble. It’s going to be great. I’m going to steady 15 hours a week and get a 4.0. It’s going to be awesome.” Then, life happens and, hopefully, you’re still able to make the time, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen. I think that having your priorities in check and understanding what’s important in your life and what you are and are not willing to make sacrifices on going into the program is extremely important.

If Sunday night dinners are something that are a thing in your family and you’re not willing to sacrifice having to do classwork, that’s totally fine. Keep your Sunday night dinners, but then plan other pieces of your week that you are willing to sacrifice in order to do the work that you need to do. The other thing I would say is be as candid as you can with your professors, with the support team and also with your team members.

My team had six individuals from very different walks of lives and doing different things and different industries. My priorities looked very different from some of my peers and having an understanding of where they fell on that spectrum and what they were and weren’t willing to give on is … was really vital for us. The other thing that’s somewhat related, especially with the teamwork is, knowing the personalities of the folks on your team and everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and being honest about that.

Going into this, I knew what my priorities were. I thought I had a pretty good grip on what my strengths and weaknesses were, but being open and able to learn things from other folks outside of just the professors and to absorb as much as I could and give it back as much as I could as well on that team.

Jon Waterhouse: 32:05
Did you have any personal time management techniques of prioritizing time that really worked for you?

Sarah Rose Harrill: 32:11
Yeah. For me, lists are important. I start most days trying to make a list of what I need to do that day. Then, I had a boss at one point tell me to use the rock, pebble, sand method. The rocks are like the really big things that have to happen, the pebbles fall somewhere in the middle, and the sand is something you can do in the future. If it becomes a next week thing that is totally fine. I think just making your list, prioritizing things and doing the best you can.

Jon Waterhouse: 32:45
Obviously, something that we can apply to everyday business life. Well, thanks so much to Georgia College WebMBA graduate, Sarah Rose, for joining us today. Lenz on Business is brought to you by Chris Burns and Dynamic Money Financial Planning. Let Chris and his team help build your financial future. Visit dynamicmoney.com. Also, Bentley Media, North Georgia’s fastest-growing film and video production company. Learn more at weonlyfilmeverything.com and make sure and check out our website for our library of past shows at lenzonbusiness.com. That’s L-E-N-Z onbusiness.com. This is Jon Waterhouse for Lenz on Business. We’ll see you next week. (singing)

Richard Lenz: 33:39
Hi. This is Richard Lenz and you’re listening to Lenz on Business presented by Georgia College’s J. Whitney Bunting College of Business. Visit them at gcsu.edu/business. Again, that’s gcsu.edu/business.