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Caregiver loves flexibility of online MBA

Caregiver loves flexibility of online MBA

    09.09.19 | Business SWU Online by Ed Welch

    Dwayne Ismail

     A lot can be said about the convenience of an online degree program, but when life throws curve balls, having that kind of convenience can make a huge difference.

    Dwayne Ismail of Columbia learned that lesson firsthand as his mother’s primary caregiver when she was experiencing renal failure and needed a kidney transplant. While he was enrolled in the MBA program from SWU Online, they got a call for a kidney.

    “One minute I would be in South Carolina, then I would be at Duke Hospital in North Carolina. I was at Duke Hospital for a few weeks, but was still able to pull out my laptop out at the hotel and get my work in,” Ismail said.

    Appreciative of the flexibility of his online MBA program, Ismail said, “Some mornings I’d be up at 5 o’clock working on assignments. If you really want to do it, the program gives you that flexibility to get it done.”

    Ismail, who previously earned his BS in business administration from Southern Wesleyan, managed to complete his degree when his mother’s health became worse. He appreciates university staff who helped him get through his degree program when his mother’s needs had to come first.

    As an office manager for a Columbia based law firm, Ismail says he immediately put much of what he learned from his MBA program to work.

    “I was looking at the Excel spreadsheet tutorial that is in my current class and thought – hey, I can do that now, directly in my new role. I can’t think of a course that I’ve taken that in this MBA program that didn’t help me. There is higher upper level content in a few math and human resource classes that don’t apply to what I do now, but if I was to move up, it would. So I think I’m well prepared with my education,” Ismail said.

    Online faculty who care

    Ismail feels that his professors are approachable in much the same way they were when he previously took courses in a traditional classroom setting.

    “We knew at 6-8 p.m. on Friday, we had conferences available in one of my quantitative math courses. If you were having trouble with coursework, you could drop in on that online conference. That really helped get me through,” he said.

    “My favorite part of the online program is the weekly discussion forums, which helps me to express myself and dive deep into the subject matter. I am able to share my understanding with other students and instructors while getting feedback and learning other points-of-views on the material. The discussion boards help me to discover practical applications of the material that I can immediately implement professionally,” Ismail said.

    Making an investment that pays off

    Ismail feels that his online MBA program is a good investment that will pay dividends for years to come.

    “I feel that the online program from Southern Wesleyan University is helping me develop the confidence to manage a small business, a government department, to work within a multinational corporation or use proper risk management techniques to manage my own investment portfolio. I truly believe the sky is the only limit now,” he said.

    By the way, Ismail’s mother is doing fine now and she’s giving encouragement to others who are in need of a kidney, as well as praying with them.

    For details about SWU Online’s degree programs, visit

    Southern Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered, student-focused learning community devoted to transforming lives by challenging students to be dedicated scholars and servant-leaders who impact the world for Christ. For details about degree programs, go online to

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