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MBA Bobcat Q&A: Eli Flournoy

Tuesday, September 6 2016 12:00am

How Eli Flournoy is using his MBA to start a new business.

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Eli - CNN Indonesia With MicName: Eli Flournoy

Program: Professional MBA

Class year: 2017

What is your current job?

I’m currently developing a company with my family called Sugarbush Valley LLC, a social enterprise innovation company focused on sustainable environmental development in Southeastern Ohio.

Why did you choose Ohio University’s Professional MBA program?

I grew up in Athens, OH and my parents both retired from Ohio University. So when I started developing Sugarbush Valley LLC in my hometown, I knew the Professional MBA program would be a perfect fit for me.

How have you been able to balance your career, your classwork and your personal life?

I wanted a graduate program that allowed me to have in person interactions without the commitment of daily on campus classes. The flexible online format of OHIO’s part-time MBA program allows me to dedicate time to class and developing a business. We also attend a monthly residency on the Dublin campus. I’m at a stage in my professional career where I wanted to be in a cohort with people from a diverse range of fields in Ohio; we’re all full-time professionals and part-time students.

Have you been able to apply what you’ve learned in the Professional MBA program to your current job and how?

I began the program with management and budgeting experience from my career in journalism, but I was lacking an understanding of the financial side of business. The PMBA has given me a deeper understanding of accounting and data analytics. Today, I use this knowledge when deciding to pursue a project or corporate partner that will have the greatest benefit for Sugarbush Valley LLC.  

What was your favorite Professional MBA course so far and why?

I had a lot of “ah-hah” moments in the accounting course; I’d say that has been my favorite course so far. The professor was engaging and lectures were directly relevant to my professional and personal life. When I could connect what we were learning in class to what I was doing with Sugarbush Valley LLC, I gained a deeper understanding of accounting.

Which College of Business mentor/faculty/staff member has had a positive influence on your education?

I really enjoyed organizational change with Dr. Amy Taylor-Bianco because of her teaching style and the professional experience she brought to the class. Learning about leadership and change initiatives is in my wheelhouse, and will be critical to the success of Sugarbush Valley.

What would you tell someone considering the Professional MBA program?

For me, Ohio University’s PMBA program has been an invaluable experience. Many courses are designed to encourage teamwork which gives you the opportunity to make connections with professionals from different industries with different skillsets from you. As you work through group projects, you’ll start to see business from the various perspectives. If you’re mid-career and considering getting an MBA, I would recommend OHIO’s Professional MBA because of its combination of flexible online format and in person interaction.

About the Professional MBA Program

Ohio University's Professional MBA program delivers curriculum in a flexible format to fit the lives of working professionals. Students are prepared to make an immediate impact in their organization by applying what they learn today in their jobs tomorrow. The part-time PMBA program blends virtual classrooms, online learning modules, and monthly Saturday classes in Dublin, Ohio. 

To learn more about Ohio Univeristy's Professional MBA program, visit