Northern Italy resident. Southern Oregon University student.
Jasmine Yaeger is taking distance learning to the extreme by earning a Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Accounting in the SOU online program while living on Aviano Air Base located in the Italian town of Roveredo in Piano.
Her husband, Judah Wine, is enlisted in the United States Air Force. The couple has lived abroad for three years. Yaeger graduated cum laude from SOU with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies in 2012.
"I was initially skeptical about the online format, as I prefer in-person interactions with my professors and peers," Yaeger said. "After completing two terms of this program, I have found that the online format, though challenging, has worked out well for me."
Yaeger started a master's degree program at Oregon State University in 2014 before Wine enlisted and the couple picked up and moved more than 6,000 miles away to a foreign country, ending her six-month stint as a graduate student. She worked as an educational technician at the Child Development Center on base before becoming a full-time student in SOU's online MBA program.
"I expected to find gainful employment while he was enlisted," Yaeger said. "However, there is stiff competition for jobs on base -- especially overseas. I had to take a step back and realize that I would need more training in a portable career field that would add to prestige to my curriculum vitae and show my level of commitment to hard work. That is when I l decided to earn the MBA."
Yaeger initially looked at some local higher education options, but none of the programs suited her specific needs.
"The educational choices offered on base were not in my interest field, and I was worried about the accreditation of the programs," she said. "After searching and contacting many schools, I decided to look at Southern Oregon University, because I knew I could trust its reputation in the long run."
So far, so good. With the help of the accelerated coursework, Yaeger is on track to graduate from the online MBA program with a concentration in Accounting in early 2020.
"The major benefit of this specific program is the short time to graduation," she said. "The courses are offered through the summer, which really will help speed up the process."
MBA 521: Legal and Ethical Issues in Business and Management and MBA 516: Managerial Accounting for Decision Making are Yaeger's favorite -- and most challenging -- courses, so far, in the curriculum.
"I know it is a bit cliche, but I have found all of the courses extremely enjoyable," she said. "It is difficult to sum up everything that I learned in those specific courses. I can say that, thus far in the program, I have learned that business management requires an enormous amount of ingenuity, skill, ambition and effort."
Yaeger believes the online MBA program is providing her with the tools she needs to be competitive in the workforce, at home or abroad.
"I am still at the beginning of the program, but I feel that the professionals and professors are creating courses that offer the necessary skills needed to successfully complete this program," she said.
Nose for Business
Yaeger, who also worked for SOU as a volunteer administrative assistant, developed an interest in business when she and her husband opened an Etsy e-commerce shop.
"We were attempting to build a brand name and create a following," she said. "Unfortunately, we moved to Italy, where U.S. citizens are blocked by the Status of Forces Agreement laws from having a self-employed business. I continued to study business practices up until I applied for the MBA program, and I realized I would be happiest as a management consultant."
Once Yaeger completes the master's degree program, she specifically hopes to work with the Air Force as an organizational consultant and external contractor.
"Whatever I choose, the MBA will provide me with a flexible career path, which is exactly what is needed in this lifestyle," Yaeger said.
Wine is working on a bachelor's degree in engineering from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He knows earning an MBA will help his wife achieve her career goals.
"My husband was definitely on board after watching me struggle to find a suitable employment position in our current living area," Yaeger said. "He wants to see me succeed and find a fulfilling career. My friends are surprised that I feel the need to get another degree, but they are all supportive.
"My parents are happy that I am continuing to pursue my higher education. My dad, Lewis, has a bachelor's degree and my stepmom, @SOU Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program Chair Dr. Dee Southard, has a Ph.D. They always remind me of the importance of being well-educated."
Yaeger is excited about what she has already learned in the online MBA program, along with what she will learn in all of the courses still to come.
"I use the knowledge I gained in my courses to assess current economic conditions and use critical thinking skills to assess future trends," she said. "I hope that these critical thinking practices will aid in my ability to retain all that I am learning now."
Even as a full-time student, Yaeger believes scheduling ahead for the coursework is essential to success in the program.
"Just watching my peers online, I would say my biggest piece of advice is to honestly assess the amount of time people have and their time-management capabilities," Yaeger said. "Getting a master's degree takes up all of my free time. It is like having another job, and I would advise people to approach the program with that kind of mindset."
Yaeger hopes she can make the trip home in 2020 to walk the graduation stage at SOU again. That's the same year Wine is up for re-enlistment. He plans to stay in the military and overseas.
"Graduation ceremonies are a great way to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that it takes to succeed in one of these programs," she said. "I have lived in many places, but I call Oregon my home.
"The cost of flying back to the States is a major barrier," she said. "However, if it is possible, I will definitely be there."
If not, having Italy as a scenic backdrop to celebrate her accomplishment isn't so bad.
Learn more about the SOU MBA with a Concentration in Accounting online program.
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