Kristi DeSimone, BA ’01 and MBA ’17, didn’t expect to find her future husband when she enrolled in the Fox Online MBA program. She already held degrees in communications and adult education, and she wanted to round out her education with a business degree to boost her career. She chose the Fox OMBA for the flexible format that catered to her busy schedule as a working professional.
“I thought that I would find great networking friends and get a great education, but I didn’t think I would find the love of my life,” says Kristi.
In January 2016, Kristi and Antonio (“Tony”) Sciulli, BS ’08 and MBA ’18, took a Law and Ethical Foundations course, and they were placed in the same WebEx breakout group. The two quickly learned they had many things in common: undergraduate degrees from Temple, jobs at Comcast, homes in New Jersey and Italian heritage. Kristi and Tony paired up as homework buddies and stayed connected after class as networking friends.
Fast forward to January 2018: Kristi graduated with her MBA on maternity leave and Tony was graduating in May. The two decided to meet up to exchange a textbook and became close friends, often getting together to run and chat about parenthood, school and business. They eventually went on their first date and knew they would spend the rest of their lives together.
Thanks, in part, to the Fox OMBA program, Kristi and Tony experienced personal success and enhanced their professional lives. Kristi assumed additional responsibilities in human resources management, while maintaining her job as a director leading retail communication strategy. Tony expanded his duties as director of security and parking operations for the Wells Fargo Center.
“When I started initially, my role was operational. As I went through the program, I was able to gain a skill set that allowed me to take projects on that people in my role normally wouldn’t have,” says Tony.
Nearly four years after meeting over WebEx, Kristi and Tony got engaged. While they originally planned to get married in the hometown of Tony’s father in Italy, they quickly altered their plans due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, they chose to have a socially distant wedding at the Jersey Shore and invited their friends and family to watch and celebrate on Zoom.
“We had to use the skills we gained through our MBA degrees to think strategically and quickly to pull off our wedding,” says Tony.
Kristi agrees, adding, “We thought about our plans strategically and designed a wedding where we could have all of our friends and family with us through Zoom. We were able to still get married and have the day of our dreams.”
To the couple, the Fox OMBA program will always be unique and special. “Our relationship started with trust and support. You develop a bond when you study and work through some tough courses,” says Tony.
“Tony and I worked on projects that were hard and required us to think, trust and learn from each other. Those skills help us in building our relationship as a couple now,” says Kristi. “If every marriage had a start there, I think everybody would be in a really good place.”