dcsimg
You are here:

Part 1: Corporate Executive Earns PhD Online

Michelle Seyfarth always wanted to earn a PhD and online education gave her that opportunity. For more than fifteen years, Michelle worked in the automotive and staffing services industries. In June 2009, she defended her dissertation and in August of the same year she graduated with her PhD in industrial and organizational psychology. With this knowledge, she founded Seyfarth Diversified Strategies, a coaching and leadership services firm that operates on the belief that every person has the potential to succeed.

Q. Why did you decide to return to school and get your degree and was it always part of your plan?

A. I love to learn and had always wanted to earn a PhD. It took me a while to decide what discipline I wanted to earn the degree in. I have a wide variety of interests and spent almost a year doing research and informational interviews with people in the disciplines in which I was interested. At the time, I also knew I wanted to write, teach, and own my own business. I thought a PhD would help lend some credibility to my experiences.

Q. With so many online schools available, how did you choose?

A. Initially, I thought I would go to a traditional college. However, having been in corporate America for almost ten years, that was not really a viable option for me. Choosing the right online school takes time. I spoke with a variety of schools and online students. I asked a lot of questions. I made my selection based on accreditation, the degree offerings, the specific courses, as well as graduation requirements. The particular school I chose had a requirement of meeting at least three times in a colloquia setting which provided face-to-face learning and networking opportunities.

Q. What were the advantages (and disadvantages) you experienced by getting your degree online?

A. The biggest advantage for me was being able to keep my full-time corporate position which required quite a bit of travel while keeping a full course load every semester. The flexibility of being able to enter the "classroom" 24-7 is a tremendous advantage. I found there to be much more interaction between students online than in a traditional classroom. Students had to read and comment on other student's papers and classroom postings. That often made for excellent exchanges of ideas and we were able to discuss our experiences, both past and present as it related to the concepts being discussed.

A potential disadvantage of getting an online degree is that the student must be very self-motivated and have a great deal of self-direction. If one doesn't have those traits, it may be a struggle adapting to the online classroom environment.

Some online colleges require face-to-face time through workshops or colloquia throughout the degree program. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. It's an advantage because you are able to meet and network with your peers and instructors. For me, this was a huge advantage. I met some life-long friends at on-site workshops I was required to attend. It was an advantage when I had to select committee members for my dissertation process as well; I was able to meet them in person and interview them to ensure they would be a good fit for the committee. The disadvantage comes in because it required a week off work and travel expenses.

Q. What are some of the challenges you faced with respect to your degree coursework?

A. Initially, my greatest challenge was time management. For most of my classes we were required to post two papers to the classroom per week. They were short papers though it was still a challenge, in the beginning, to get them done and turned in on time. Another requirement that sometimes posed a challenge was that each student had to post constructive comments to at least two other students' assignments. That meant I had to read the papers of other students and sometimes I would read four or five assignments before I read one I had something to post about.

Periodically an assignment would not be clear to all of the students and depending on the instructor, it might be a few days before he/she makes the clarification available.

Read part 2 of the Interview with Michelle Seyfarth.

--
About the Author
JoVon Sotak is a writer, community journalist, and photographer who enjoys living in the middle of nowhere. Her work has been featured on a variety of websites and throughout Nevada.

Search Schools

      
Matching School Ads
  • Penn Foster Schools

    Advance your career with our affordable, self-paced, career-focused distance education programs.

    Programs

    • HVACR Technician
    • Diesel Mechanics
    • Veterinary Assistant
    • More...
    Location:
    Scranton: , Scranton PA 18515
    Penn Foster Schools Request Info »
  • Simmons College School of Social Work

    Programs

    • Master of Social Work
    Location:
    Boston: 300 The Fenway, Boston MA 02115
    Simmons College School of Social Work Request Info »
  • Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University

    Located in the heart of Washington, D.C. the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University is dedicated to advancing the health of local, national and global communities.

    You need to have a Bachelor’s degree to be qualified for this school.

    Programs

    • Master of Public Health
    • Executive Master of Health Administration
    Location:
    Washington: 2121 I St NW, , Washington DC 20052
    Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University Request Info »
  • Stratford Career Institute

    Earn Your Diploma from Home!

    Programs

    • Electrician
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Funeral Service Education
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Stratford Career Institute Request Info »
  • Simmons College School of Communication

    Communications@Simmons prepares students to become leaders who achieve their organizational, professional, and personal goals through a strategic integration of communications theory and practice.

    ·

    Programs

    • MS in Communication
    Location:
    Boston: , Boston MA 02115
    Simmons College School of Communication Request Info »
  • USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work

    The MSW@USC is the first top-ranked MSW program offered nationally. Many online programs are limited to certain geographic areas or the availability of courses, making it necessary to travel to campus. Our program can be completed from virtually anywhere without the need to relocate to Southern California.

    Programs

    • Master of Social Work
    Location:
    Los Angeles: 3601 Watt Way, GFS-315, Los Angeles CA 90089
    USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work Request Info »
  • Syracuse Communications

    Communications@Syracuse is an online Master of Science in Communications from the world-renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
     

    Programs

    • Master of Science in Communications

    Location: Online

    Syracuse Communications Request Info »
  • Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences

    Nursing@Simmons, the innovative, online nursing degree program from Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences prepares Registered Nurses for the next stage of their careers.

    You need to have a Bachelor’s degree and RN license to be qualified for this school.

    Programs

    • MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
    • RN to MSN - Family Nurse Practitioner
    Location:
    Boston: 300 The Fenway,, Boston MA 02115
    Simmons School of Nursing and Health Sciences Request Info »
  • Animal Behavior College

    Interested in a career as a professional dog trainer? Animal Behavior College is the place to start.

    Programs

    • Veterinary Assistant
    • Grooming Instruction
    • Certified Dog Trainer Instructor Course

    Location: Online

    Animal Behavior College Request Info »
  • Full Sail University - Online

    Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.

    Programs

    • Creative Writing, Master of Fine Arts (Online)
    • Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
    • Audio Production Bachelors (Online)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Full Sail University - Online Request Info »
  • Matching School Ads

    Quick School Search

    College & Career Search Tools

    • Careers: Unsure about your career path? Study profiles of hundreds of professions.

    • Interviews: Professors and deans sit down with our team to give you unique insights on college life.

    • Military Education: Find only Military friendly online schools and campuses.

    • Student Reviews: Know before you go. Read student reviews on over 2000 accredited colleges. Write your own experience.