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Maryland Smith Grads Among Poets & Quants’ Best and Brightest Online MBAs

Jun 26, 2020

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Leland Nislow
Leland Nislow

Leland Nislow and Vi Zenone Credit Maryland Smith’s Online Learning Community, Infrastructure

New Maryland Smith graduates Leland Nislow and Vi Zenone are featured by Poets & Quants in its recently published “Best and Brightest Online MBAs: Class of 2020.”

The criteria for the recognition include strong academic performance, critical and consistent contributions to the program, striking personal narratives, and innate potential, according to the news site devoted to the global coverage of business schools.

The honorees described to Poets & Quants why they flourished in Maryland Smith’s online learning community.

Nislow, a senior program manager at Amazon for startup procurement, credited a “consistently high quality and depth of the synchronous online sessions.” “Before I started the program, I was somewhat skeptical about the ability to create a robust learning environment outside of the traditional classroom, he said. “After two years of online learning, I can confidently say that this environment offers ample opportunity for rich interactions for those willing to jump in.”

Zenone, a product marketing lead for Verizon’s public sector segment, said flexibility was a key benefit for her. “I needed a program that fit my schedule,” she said. “I could join a live session from anywhere and access my coursework remotely.” This, she added, enabled her to maximize the program tools. “[Maryland Smith’s] learning management system – Canvas – made it easy to integrate asynchronous and synchronous learning. I found that the variety of collaboration tools contributed to a more holistic educational experience,” she said. “The online format required platforms that were easy to use and reliable. For live sessions, we used Adobe Connect. For group work, we turned to the suite of Google products – Hangouts, Docs, Sheets, Slides – to share information. Blending Adobe, Google and Canvas created a learning community and kept us all connected, despite being remotely located.”

Nislow described how reflecting back on his undergraduate days especially helps him to appreciate his Maryland Smith online experience: “Most of my undergraduate classes followed the familiar traditional lecture format – one professor at the front of the room facing dozens of students, the dozens of students all facing the same direction,” he said. “The online environment breaks this mold and can spark a deeper and more diverse learning experience. Professors and students enter the online classroom via the same platform and more voices and viewpoints are shared and heard as a result.

Read more about the Maryland Smith Online MBA Program and Leland Nislow and Vi Zenone in the Poets & Quants ‘Best and Brightest’ profiles.

About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.