Mana Azizsoltani, a private math tutor from Las Vegas, Nevada, earned his master’s in just a year with NC State’s online Master of Statistics program.
Since graduating from the program a year ago, Azizsoltani has grown his tutoring business and was accepted into the Hospitality Administration Ph.D. program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“My Master of Statistics was what allowed me to get into the best hospitality Ph.D. program in the country,” Azizsoltani said. “Not only that, but because of how applied the program was, I am in a better position to take what I learned and apply it to hospitality.”
Azizsoltani first decided to pursue his master’s in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when he no longer could go into people’s homes to tutor because of social distancing precautions.
After looking at multiple graduate school options, Azizsoltani ultimately chose NC State because of the preestablished online Master of Statistics program and faculty that had years of experience building and teaching online classes.
“I chose NC State because I knew they had the experience of giving online instruction and that everything would be less scrambled,” he said. “My dad is a university professor and my mom is a graduate assistant in the office of online education, so when COVID-19 hit, they gave me a lot of good advice in terms of what to look for in a graduate program.”
When he first started the program, Azizsoltani did have concerns about the social aspect of a fully online program. However, he did manage to make connections through the screen.
“I am an extremely social person, so not being able to interact with people and make friends in person was a little hard for me to get used to,” he said. “That being said, I still ended up making a bunch of friends, who I hung out with over Zoom. We sent memes back and forth and completed assignments together.”
Azizsoltani also had a positive experience with the faculty in his program. In particular, Associate Teaching Professor Justin Post stood out to him in his ability to educate remotely.
“Dr. Post is one of the nicest, most caring professors that you can get,” he said. “On top of that, he is a really good teacher; he knows how to teach students and excels at it. He is one of those people that if I called up with some sort of problem in five years, he would try his best to help me.”
Due to the flexibility of the online program, Azizsoltani had the opportunity to complete his schoolwork from anywhere, something he took full advantage of during his time at NC State.
“I was able to travel all around the US, spend quality time with my nuclear family and reconnect with old friends, all while learning statistics and saving money,” he said.
If other working professionals are considering continuing their education, Azizsoltani would strongly advise them to complete their master’s online.
“Whether they are a professional who is already waist-deep in a career in the corporate world, or a younger person with no ties that wants to wander around, online programs offer the flexibility and cost-efficiency that one would want,” he said.