OHIO: When did you know that continuing your education was something that you wanted to do?
Steven: After I transitioned from the United States Marine Corps, I quickly saw how competitive the market was and knew I had to invest in my education via a graduate program and certifications. Additionally, my first position out of the Marine Corps showed me the importance of statistics, data, and analytics, regardless of the role or position. When I began looking for a program to enroll in, I knew of a couple of individuals who pursued their Online Master of Business Administration (MBA), and they had nothing but great things to say about their experience. However, I also knew I needed to build my critical thinking and analytic skills. For this reason, I chose Ohio University’s Online MBA program with a concentration in Business Analytics.
OHIO: Why did you decide to start the Master of Business Administration program with a concentration in Business Analytics?
One of the first positions I ever held in corporate America was in project management. This position dealt with process improvement, standardization, optimization models, and many other tasks that I was unfamiliar with at the time. I quickly knew that I had to acquire the knowledge and training necessary to remain competitive and enhance my overall value to an organization. Furthermore, an MBA from an AACSB accredited school, like Ohio University, is highly respected and sought after by many employers. I knew that completing this program and acquiring the necessary skills would ultimately help my career and lead to countless opportunities.
OHIO: How has earning an MBA degree helped your career?
The sheer amount of opportunities, job offers, and connections that my degree from Ohio University has brought me has paid for itself ten-fold. I knew that it would propel my career and lead to bigger and better things, but I could have never expected the amount of attention I have received since graduating. The opportunity to network within the program is one of the most significant advantages of choosing Ohio University. My confidence to network, take chances, collaborate on strategic objectives, and countless areas have improved because of the education and training I received. Finally, I was able to secure a position with a company I truly wanted to be apart of and did not have to compromise on anything that I wanted.
OHIO: Was there any inspiration behind getting your MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics?
I am the first person in my family to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree and the first person to not only attend graduate school but graduate with an MBA. Both of my parents worked tirelessly to provide me the opportunity for a better life. While I did not have much guidance in my journey, my parents supported me and gave me the tools necessary to succeed in my academic endeavors. They sacrificed almost everything to give me this opportunity, and I wanted to show them my appreciation by capitalizing on their sacrifices. Additionally, I wanted to show the world that regardless of your background, your upbringing, or your current education, you too can succeed through hard work and perseverance. I am living proof of this, and I wanted to hopefully inspire others to challenge themselves and do something they previously thought was impossible.
OHIO: What was your biggest takeaway from the MBA program?
Knowledge and experience will only get you so far in life. In order to truly be successful, you must have a desire to improve and willingness to sacrifice things to help get you to where you want to be. The Marine Corps taught me the importance of being able to adapt and overcome any obstacle that stands in your way. Ohio University’s Online MBA program taught me the importance of being resilient, and that hard work and sacrifice does pay off. Overall, the biggest takeaway for me was the idea that one person can have a profound impact on another person’s life. Even better, sometimes, they will have an impact on someone’s life and not even know it. The faculty at Ohio University is beyond excellent and the director of the program, Dr. William “Bill” Young II, is one of the most inspirational leaders I have ever met.
OHIO: What innovative analytical tools did you enjoy/takeaway from the program?
While many tools were used and discussed throughout the program, the thing I enjoyed most was the ability to apply various skills to virtually any program. The program does not focus on any one particular tool or software program but instead, provides students the skills and techniques necessary to use any system they may find themselves operating. By mastering the basics, exploring a multitude of different programs, and applying everything we learned to real-world scenarios, this gave me the confidence to venture off and use several programs in my personal and professional life.
OHIO: What is one piece of advice you would give to a person who wants to learn more about business analytics?
The number one piece of advice I would give someone is to not give up. This advice may sound cliché, but I quickly learned that perseverance was the key. You do not need to be a mathematician, and you certainly do not need to be an expert at anything other than being diligent. Business Analytics is not easy by any means, but it is entirely manageable if you are willing to put in the work. I was skeptical at first, but through the support and mentorship of the faculty at Ohio University, I was able to persevere and accomplish my goals. Start with the basics, embrace failure, and learn from your mistakes – this is the best way to learn to do anything, including business analytics.
OHIO: What was it like maintaining your career while pursuing your degree?
It was interesting, to say the least, that is for sure. However, with that being said, the support you receive from your classmates and the faculty is unbelievable. The program is very demanding and requires you to make a lot of sacrifices, but as long as a person is willing to challenge themselves for the betterment of their future, the program is manageable. The key to remember is to keep your eyes on the prize. As a wise man once said, when you feel like quitting, remember why you started. This is something that helped me pushed through the hard times when work would interfere and assignments were still due.
OHIO: What was an unexpected surprise/benefit you discovered while going through the program or after you graduated?
The biggest thing that really surprised me was the relationships I built throughout the program. I have connected with a number of successful individuals throughout this program, and we still stay in touch to this day. Whether it be faculty members, fellow students, or alumni, everyone is excited to engage and assist each other both in their personal as well as their professional life. I knew that I would meet exceptional individuals throughout the program, but I never expected these relationships to grow into personal friendships. This benefit is something that is invaluable and is a massive perk of Ohio University’s MBA program.
OHIO: What are your career goals/plans?
Currently, I am an Instructor & Curriculum Developer with Vets2PM, which is an organization whose mission is to take military veterans and turn them into certified, marketable project managers for the civilian sector. The opportunity to be apart of such a great company and mission is priceless. Having gone through a horrible military transition, I know firsthand the value of having someone support you through this tough time. The fact that I am able to wake up every day and make the lives of transitioning military veterans and their families better is something I am immensely humbled by and honored to do. I do plan on continuing my education and pursuing a Ph.D., so I may continue giving back and assisting those around me achieve their fullest potential.
Learn More About Ohio University’s Online Master of Business Administration
At Ohio University, we understand how important an MBA can be to advancing your career. We also know that your MBA should be affordable, engaging, and academically-rigorous. That’s why we have designed an online MBA that is comprehensive and challenging, yet flexible to fit your lifestyle. For more information, contact an enrollment advisor at Ohio University.