Brian Register is the territory manager for Plasma Surgical. He graduated from the NC State Professional Online MBA Program in December 2013.
Deciding to earn an MBA
I love being a salesperson, but I wanted to contribute more to an organization and its culture. I talked to my mentors and decided it was time to get an MBA. That decision is already paying off. My company was recently acquired, and I was given the opportunity to manage a territory. The fact that I earned my MBA while working a demanding job made a good impression on the hiring manager. But I think the real benefits will be long-term – over the next five to ten years.
Choosing the right MBA program
I work long hours, and often weekends, so a traditional MBA program wouldn’t work with my schedule. I needed the flexibility that an online program offered. And NC State offered the best value when compared with other top online MBA programs.
My wife has her master’s in accounting, so she knows how much it’s helped her career. She respected that sometimes I had to miss out on family events – I could not have done it without her support. It’s equally important to gain the support of your employer.
Building a network
I knew that building a professional network was an important benefit of earning an MBA, so I was initially concerned that I’d miss out by attending an online program. That concern turned out to be unwarranted. NC State’s online MBA program is designed to provide opportunities to get to know our classmates well. We had a four-day residency in Raleigh and a 10-day global immersion trip to China so we had a good deal of face-to-face time. I think the China immersion is optional, but it was well worth it for me. Other times, we communicated online – just like most of us do in our work environments. We were continually helping and learning from each other.
Learning in an online environment
I learn best when listening to people talk, rather than from reading. Our professors recorded our lessons, which we could listen to at our convenience. This turned out to be a big benefit because I could re-listen to the parts that I didn’t understand at first, without having to ask the professor to repeat something. That made a big difference.
Time management was my biggest challenge. We were told at orientation that this program would be very intense – it’s not a cakewalk MBA. And they were right.
On average, I’d spend 10 to 30 hours a week on my lessons and group work. Some weeks were heavier than others, so I really had to stay on top of it. The first semester was tough, but after that I got into a groove and was able to streamline my learning process, which made balancing my life easier.
Applying learning on the job
One of my goals in getting an MBA was to improve my writing skills. The healthcare industry is very litigious and highly regulated, so I have to be very careful and precise in my writing. My MBA program taught me how to be concise and exact, which greatly improved my communication skills.
Gaining a high-quality education
Every professor was attuned to our concerns and needs. All of them were very responsive – they were available for conference calls when needed. The course work was framed around current events –not a cookie-cutter curriculum. I wanted to expand my knowledge and talk with people who had real-life business experience – and that’s what we got.