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Online MBA prepares Kelly Howe for promotion

The 2022 U.S. News and World Report confirmed the merit and value of Boise State Online’s Master of Business Administration (MBA). The program received two prominent rankings that distinguish it from hundreds of other accredited programs in the country.

🏆 Top 19% in the Nation – Best Online MBA

🏆 #43 Best Online MBA Program for Veterans

The renowned reputation and flexible learning environment of the Online MBA motivated Kelly Howe, a longtime resident of Nampa, Idaho and U.S. Submarine Service Veteran, to enroll. 

“I chose to enroll in the Online MBA program mostly for the flexibility and convenience,” Howe said. “It gave me the freedom to work on classes at my own pace.”

Online MBA student sits with notebook and laptop.
Kelly Howe enjoyed the flexibility and freedom of online learning in the Online Master of Business Administration program. Photo by Adam Eschbach, Boise State Extended Studies.

Never too late for a college education

Kelly Howe’s journey to a college education included a lot of stops and starts, as is the case for so many adult students. 

“My prior college experience was fresh out of high school. I went for a year and was not very successful,” he explained. 

“At that point, I joined the military. I was able to go to college for a couple of years while I was in the military, so my college career has been piecemeal over the years. Finally, in 2019, I decided that I wanted to go ahead and finish it up. That’s when I enrolled in the online multidisciplinary studies program.” 

Boise State Online’s Bachelor of Arts in Multidisciplinary Studies focuses on both breadth and emphasis-level depth and asks students to assemble a meaningful, compelling, and individualized degree plan that integrates their ideas, experiences, and personal and professional goals with relevant and purposeful academic opportunities. Following graduation from the program in 2019, Kelly Howe felt uniquely prepared and ready to pursue a graduate degree — specifically, the Online MBA at Boise State. 

“The Online MDS program prepared me for the Online MBA program because it taught me the discipline I need for working online. It did take some getting used to, but I did like the fact that it was flexible,” he stated.

“I could work on homework during my lunch break. I could work on homework at 2 o’clock in the morning if I desired. It definitely prepared me for that type of learning environment.”

After 24 years, Kelly Howe is eager to advance in his job

2020 marked the start of Kelly Howe’s time as an Online MBA student. Howe felt ready to learn new things and sharpen his skills to prepare for professional advancement. 24 years at the same company, Applied Materials, without a graduate education meant that he had reached a stopping point in his career as a nontechnical services manager. Howe was ready for more and saw the Online MBA as a pathway.

“I needed to take that next step with respect to my education so I decided to enroll in the Online MBA program,” he said.

Boise State Online’s Master of Business Administration offers three emphasis areas to focus learning: management, healthcare leadership and construction management alongside a general MBA track. Howe chose the management emphasis.

“The reason I chose the management emphasis was because the roles I am interested in now are at the director level, overseeing various operations,” Howe explained. 

“Whether it’s managing a strategic account like Micron or Intel, or perhaps a research and development team — to get to that next level, the Online MBA program will definitely be helpful.”

Applicable, diverse learning in Online Master of Business Administration courses

Although Kelly Howe has not yet graduated from Boise State, he is already reaping the benefits of the Online MBA courses.

“One of my favorite classes I’ve had was project management class. It aligned with what I currently do in my position at Applied Materials,” he said.

“It was interesting to see the actual breakdown, the nuts and bolts, of project management. Anecdotally and intuitively, I knew what that was, but it was good to see it broken down in a learning format.”

Howe also recalled the innovative, forward-thinking Online MBA curriculum. 

“There was another class called Design Thinking that I was not really familiar with, so it was interesting to learn how that whole process works,” Howe said.

“Whether it’s managing a strategic account like Micron or Intel, or perhaps a research and development team — to get to that next level, the Online MBA program will definitely be helpful.”

“I know that our industry in general is moving toward designing for serviceability: we have to do maintenance so let’s make the maintenance easy and as efficient as possible. We could save time, money and resources in respect to labor costs. So, that was a pretty good class as well.” 

Overall, Howe feels there are so many benefits to online learning and an online degree from Boise State.

“I would recommend the online learning program for a couple of reasons. One, it’s incredibly flexible and it’s my understanding that most folks in the online program are not traditional students and they need the flexibility to attend to life in general — families, jobs, etc.,” Howe said.

“The other thing I really like about the online program is that you get to see diverse attendance in respect to students, from all over. I had one class where I had a student from South Korea. So it’s fun to see how many different people are enrolled in my classes.”

Kelly Howe sits on a bench and smiles at camera.
Kelly Howe, current Online Master of Business Administration student, enjoys the  innovative course curriculum. Photo by Adam Eschbach, Boise State Extended Studies.

Boise State’s impact on multiple generations of the Howe family

Reflecting on the impact of Boise State on himself and his family, Kelly Howe realized the transformative power of a college education.

“I would say the biggest impact it has had is in the example I set for my kids,” he stated.

“I was not successful in college when I was younger and was only able to finish my bachelor’s degree last December. I want my kids to see it is possible to finish and continue on, regardless of life’s circumstances and challenges you may experience.”

Now, college degrees and Boise State are a Howe family tradition.

“Boise State is definitely a family affair in that two of my youngest children, they are twins who are currently enrolled and are both juniors at Boise State. I had an older daughter graduate last spring from Boise State. I graduated last December. My son-in-law just graduated from the online MBA program as well,” he said. 
“A lot of connections to my family — it kind of runs in the family!”

Ready to learn more about Boise State Online’s MBA program?

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Note: The Multidisciplinary Studies Program name was changed to Interdisciplinary Professional Studies in April 2022.