Shawn Norman, a graduate of Boise State University’s Online Master of Business Administration, went from graduation day to the first day of a new job in less than one month.
“I walked in December 2022, but I finished the Online MBA coursework in October,” he said. “I interviewed for my current job two weeks after I received my final grade on Oct. 7 and started in my new role in January.”
Norman is the senior vice president of operations and finance at Iowa State University. One of the reasons he wanted to return to college was to advance to the vice-president level.
An MBA That Fits a Busy Life
The ability to earn a master’s degree quickly – in as little as one year – led Norman to enroll at Boise State University.
“The timing was big,” he said. “I didn’t want to spend two years going through a whole new program. Seeing that I could finish in a year was right up my alley. I could put my head down, get at it and finish in one year.”
The online format was especially important for Norman. He and his wife, Mena, have three children which requires extra flexibility when adding another responsibility.
“My family was very supportive,” he said. “My wife and son were in school at the same time as me, whether online or in person. We had to keep a tight schedule on the things we did. I had to make sure I could go to events.”
Changing Careers and Falling in Love With Higher Education
Norman is from Pearland, Texas, in the Houston area. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Wiley College in 2013 and spent nearly 16 years as a director at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.
“When leadership was changing over, it was time for me to look for something else,” he said. “Lo and behold, the University of Nevada, Reno, came to me. I didn’t have a lot of higher education experience, but I went in learning, fell in love with it, and kept going.”
While looking to advance to the next level of his career prior to earning an MBA, Norman often found himself getting close to landing jobs but not quite to the job offer.
“Having an MBA was a preference for jobs that I applied for,” he said. “I would get into the final round, with three or four people selected, but I didn’t get the jobs. It could have been because I didn’t have an MBA.”
Boise State’s Online MBA curriculum prepared Norman for his current position at Iowa State University. The program focuses on immediately applicable skills and topics that give students the confidence to lead across all business areas. Managerial Communication was one of his favorite courses.
“We talked about leadership style, so I could explore other styles and bring other forms of leadership into what I was thinking about my own style,” said Norman. “The presentation was the number one thing that I liked. We discussed how we present, getting to your target audience, delivering a message and summing it back up. It was a good thing that I use often.”
Norman said that he enjoyed every aspect of his return to higher education to finish what he started and come away with a master’s degree.
“Boise State has good professors and courses and was really challenging,” he said. “It put your mind to use and related what you’re learning in a textbook to what you’re going through in real life. It really helped out. I got good value out of the program.”
Now that Norman is settling into his new role, he looks forward to gaining experience while doing what he loves after learning more about strategic leadership and collaborative decision-making in the Online MBA.
Norman, who enjoys hiking, playing basketball and attending concerts in his free time, is glad that he could balance school with work and family time while enrolled at Boise State University.
“I had to schedule my time,” he said. “Most of the time, I would have group assignments due on Wednesdays. I usually did my schoolwork in the mornings. My family appreciated me doing the mornings so I could be there with them at night.”
Boise State turned out to be the ideal university for Norman to earn a master’s degree that helped land him a coveted job title.
“The flexibility of the program is excellent,” he said. “You should also go in with an open mind about the things you’re learning and what you can take away to enhance your skills and career opportunities. The sky is the limit if you put the hard work into it.”
Learn more about the Online MBA at Boise State
Shawn Norman is proof that completing your MBA can open new doors and help you reach your career goals. Are you ready to learn more about the Online Master of Business Administration?