Meet SNL Online Alum Kristi Laakkonen

by

Kristi Laakkonen

Kristi is a Summer 2011 SNL graduate from the Chicago area with a focus area in leadership and management.

What field do you currently work in?

I currently work as an Account Manager in the Payroll/HRIS industry.

How did your education at SNL impact your current job?

The way I view my position, my company and my clients is different. The knowledge and skills I gained—specifically through courses that focused on critical thinking, conflict resolution and leadership—have impacted how I handle and prioritize issues, how I interact with my team and internal departments, and how I analyze my clients’ needs. I know that my communication skills have been strengthened and my experience at SNL has helped me to be more strategic in my vision and decision making—personally and professionally.

What do you love about your job?

In my current position, I assist my clients with their payroll and HR questions, programs and initiatives. I really enjoy analyzing their needs, issues or concerns and providing solutions. Most of all, I love the relationships that I am able to form with my clients and the internal associates I interact with.

What advice to you have for current students taking online classes?

Don’t be frightened of online classes. Yes, you will need to be disciplined—but isn’t that true for most things in life? They offer wonderful flexibility and the experience can be as good if not better than a classroom setting. Since I was able to work according to my work/family schedule (sometime even starting at 10pm and working to midnight or waking up early to log in at 5am), online classes made it possible for me to complete my degree. I have been very happy with the interaction with my professors and also formed many, many wonderful long-term relationships with classmates.

Looking back as a student, is there anything you would have done differently?

I would have started at SNL much, much sooner and I would have found a professional advisor when I started the program or shortly after since they are an integral part of the experience. Otherwise, the entire journey was very rewarding and the professors and advisors have been wonderful to work with.

Your School for New Learning experience helped you by:

  • Developing confidence in myself that I can accomplish by goals and belief that I can do anything I set my mind to.
  • Making Academic Advisors available that truly care and are so passionate about the student’s success.
  • Providing comprehensive courses that would provide an excellent education in a flexible format that made it possible for me to attend classes and earn my degree from a respected university. As a result, I can advance my career.
  • Giving me the opportunity to be an example for my high school age son— showing him that education is essential and possible no matter your age or circumstance.
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