Why did you choose to pursue a Belk College MBA over other options?
The flexibility to fit the program around my schedule, the ease of using my veterans benefits throughout the duration of the program, and the high ranking/accreditation of the program were all key aspects when selecting my MBA program.
How has your experience in the Army prepared you for, or impacted, your graduate school program?
My experience in the military helped prepare me for my graduate school program by giving me the resources to prioritize my time and work well within diverse groups. Throughout the MBA experience I have had several projects that involve working in teams with people from different backgrounds and different skill sets. Having served in the military for nearly 6 years I have had the opportunity to work in similar situations and can assist in bringing out the best of my group.
Are there any benefits of the Belk College graduate programs that you would like to share with other veterans in particular?
There are two benefits I always recommend to my peers. The first is using the flexibility of the program to their advantage - the selection of in person, hybrid, “lunch hour,” and partially online courses - that help make the Belk College of Business a great program for military benefits. The second is the Career Development resource team, who truly care about the success of their students and will help you throughout the entire process. They offer career fairs, resume services, professional development, converting your military skills into business skills and more. The resources they provide are there to help you with your goals, whether it is to enter a new career field or advance in your current role.
What advice would you give other military veterans if they are considering an advanced business degree?
Two pieces of advice:
- Plan early and plan often - Since you are able to enter the program during any semester, the courses available to you change each semester. The advising team will help you create a plan laddering up to your goal or anticipated graduation date. Be sure to consistently reevaluate it throughout your time in the program. This way you can ensure that you are meeting the requirements and better plan it around your schedule.
- Work hard - an advanced business degree takes effort and time. Your professors are there to help you and provide the resources you’ll need to be successful. Don’t procrastinate - you will need to put in the time and effort to be successful throughout the program.
Tell us about your current job. What lessons have you learned in your courses that you were able to apply on the job?
In my current role I work on consumer facing content for my company that is primarily distributed in digital formats. I help to create new, optimize existing, and analyze past content so we are consistently improving and providing our customers with the most useful and relevant content. Throughout my program I have taken many marketing and big data electives, and these courses have helped me immensely in my role. My marketing courses are constantly providing me with creative ideas and new ways to reach our target market effectively. As business is evolving big data is a crucial skill, in my current role I am on a daily basis performing market research and industry research and analyzing the results. Taking electives focused on big data has provided me with a skill set to manipulate and extract the information I need in the most timely way.
With a family and a job in addition to grad school, how do you balance your many priorities?
Balancing priorities while in the MBA program with both a family and career takes sacrifice. The three key elements for me are:
1. Having an open line of communication with my managers and my family
2. Having a schedule and staying current with the course work
3. Planning my schedule early and using the flexibility of the program to allow me to have the most time for my family, my career and my commitment to the program.
What has been the best part of your MBA experience so far?
The best part of my MBA experience so far has been the networking opportunities and connections I’ve made. While an online program allows the most flexibility, nothing can replace the benefits of face to face classes for building a network with both your peers (who work in every industry you can imagine) and your professors (who are subject matter experts)
Any other advice or insight?
Don’t be afraid to jump into a new industry, while you may not think that your military career is applicable, but it is! You can leverage your skills in new ways, with new resources.