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
  • University of Southern California - DSW

    The University of Southern California Doctor of Social Work (DSW) online program is designed for experienced practitioners to harness innovative solutions to solve real-world problems.

    Unlike a PhD in social work, which prepares scholars for careers in research and the professoriate, the DSW@USC is an online advanced practice degree program for working professionals who want to have a greater impact in their practice.

    Programs

    • Doctor of Social Work (DSW)
    Location:
    Los Angeles: 669 W 34th St, Los Angeles CA 90089
    University of Southern California - DSW Request Info »
  • Pepperdine University - Marriage and Family Therapy

    Pepperdine University offers its esteemed marriage and family therapy (MFT) master’s program online so students across the country can earn a Pepperdine graduate education without attending classes on campus. 

     

    Programs

    • Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy
    Location:
    Malibu: , Malibu CA 90263
    Pepperdine University - Marriage and Family Therapy Request Info »
  • Penn Foster

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

    Programs

    • Home Health Aide
    • Security Guard
    • Veterinary Assistant
    • More...
    Location:
    Scranton: , Scranton PA 18515
    Penn Foster Request Info »
  • Washington State University

    Get your career started with training from Washington State University.

    Programs

    • Executive MBA
    • MBA
    Location:
    Pullman: , Pullman WA
    Washington State University Request Info »
  • George Mason University

    Located in Fairfax, Virginia, George Mason University is the largest public research university in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    Programs

    • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis
    • Master of Business Administration: Business Analytics Specialization
    • Master of Education in Special Education, specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder
    • More...

    Location: Online

    George Mason  University Request Info »
  • South University, Online Programs

    As a student at South University, Online Programs you will receive the same quality instruction, variety of learning options and level of service found at the campus locations.

    Programs

    • Nurse Educator (PGC)
    • Nursing (RN to BSN)
    • Specialization in Nursing Informatics (RN to MSN)
    • More...
    Location:
    Savannah: 709 Mall Boulevard, Savannah GA 31406
    South University, Online Programs Request Info »
  • Liberty University

    100% Online & No Standardized Testing

    Programs

    • Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
    • Doctor of Ministry: Evangelism & Church Planting
    • M.Div: Homiletics
    • More...
    Location:
    Lynchburg: 1971 University Blvd,, Lynchburg VA 24515
    Liberty University Request Info »
  • Pepperdine’s School of Law Master of Legal Studies

    The online Master of Legal Studies program from Pepperdine University School of Law enables nonlawyers from across the United States to develop the legal expertise and credentials to advance within their chosen fields. Students will learn to interpret foundational legal concepts, solve legal challenges, and interact effectively with lawyers.

     

    Programs

    • Master of Legal Studies

    Location: Online

    Pepperdine’s School of Law Master of Legal Studies Request Info »
  • Argosy University, Online Programs

    Welcome to Argosy University

    Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

    Programs

    • Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)
    • Sport-Exercise Psychology (MA)
    • Business Administration (AS)
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Argosy University, Online Programs Request Info »
  • Intercoast Colleges

    Training in as little as 40 weeks, at InterCoast Colleges.

    Programs

    • Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician
    • AAS Degree in Business Office Administration
    • Associates in Applied Science Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling
    • More...

    Location: Online

    Intercoast Colleges 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.