“I love Mondays,” says Laura Fooks. “I get to work in my passion. Kelley helped me get there. I couldn’t have done this without that educational foundation.” Kelley Direct MBA (Master of Business Administration) and Chief Encouragement Officer at Light Speaks Loudest, Laura Fooks credits her program at Kelley Direct with helping her bring a vision to light.
Fooks could visualize the business she wanted to create. She asked, ”What’s the best way to grow my business skills?” She needed two things to get there: a program that could bring her dream within reach and a degree from a school she trusted. She researched half a dozen schools. IU’s Kelley School of Business topped the list. “I knew IU’s reputation,” she says. “IU is well-established in the online realm. It’s so valuable, knowing IU has been online from the beginning. Faculty are well respected and responsive; all are well versed in technology.”
How does a very busy, self-described “recovering perfectionist” manage to juggle full-time work, a home life, marriage, and school? Everyone struggles, Fooks says. But if you want to accomplish something badly enough, you’ll find a way. She made earning her business degree a priority. The flexibility of being able to fit her schoolwork around her schedule made a big difference. “It worked because I could manage my own time, scaling my schoolwork up or down, as my timeline allowed.” She encourages others, “Don’t let being busy stand in your way!”
Fooks also developed a new perspective on perfectionism. She is now comfortable accepting she can’t be perfect in marriage, in school, or in the workplace. Kelley helped her see the importance of balance and recognizing priorities. “Kelley instilled in me the mentality of a lifelong learner. None of my work will stay the same,” she says. “The key to success is being able to learn and change with time."
Online made personal
Other activities related to her degree—online and in person—helped Fooks build community. Kelley held virtual happy hours. The on-campus meet-ups held twice a year became a source of lifelong friends. She took part in online clubs through Kelley Direct. As a member of the online Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital Association club, she entered a “pitch” competition, where she pitched the idea for her own business—and won! That activity directly affected her business success. She says, “I got great advice from the competition judges that fed into my business plans.”
The biggest value add
The irony is that Fooks never considered herself an online person. In the traditional classroom, she’d sat in the front row and actively taken part. How could online mimic that? “Flexibility made it an easy choice.” She expected that in an online setting it would be more challenging to connect with her professors. She found they made it easy to connect and learn. She got answers to her questions within 24 hours. She says, “My professors went above and beyond!”
Lifelong learning at work
Fooks works hard at marketing her business. Her background in digital marketing conveyed the importance of being strategic. But she stays nimble at recognizing new marketing opportunities and media as means of communication evolve and change. For that she credits “stretching the lifelong learning muscle.”
Read more about Fooks on the Kelley Direct blog.