Craig Huseby knows that timing is everything.
After thinking of starting an MBA program for years, he is on track to graduate in February 2021 from the MBA with a Concentration in Business Analytics online program at Southern Oregon University (SOU). When he finishes his capstone project, he will have completed the entire program in just under three years.
"The flexibility of an online MBA program was the initial appeal for me because I have a family and a career," he said. "Deciding when to start and how to fit it all in was a big deal for me. I decided to take a single class per seven-week term straight through the program and just knock out one class at a time."
The online feature allowed Huseby to learn at times that were most convenient for his personal and professional life in the IT field.
"In IT, things happen that are out of your control and that require a lot of focus and effort. I tend to have a very cyclical schedule at work, so there are times of the year that are very busy, making it hard to have a rigid schedule outside of work. The ability to have classes with flexible schedules really made all the difference for me."
The Right Time
When completing his Bachelor of Science in computer engineering in 1992 from Oregon State University, Huseby already had an interest in earning an MBA, but the timing wasn't right. He had family, career and life goals to pursue first.
"I had taken my GMAT and gotten all ready, but really didn't have time to go back and do it at that point," he said.
In 2018, Huseby decided it was time. He had been part of an IT management organization called Society for Information Management (SIM), and he noticed that most of the members had an MBA to go along with technical skills.
"Part of my desire to return to school was to get that advanced degree, but also at this point in my career, it's often a requirement if you're going to take on larger roles," he said.
Coming from a family with many generations of Oregonians, he was familiar with SOU, and the affordability of the program sealed the deal.
"The cost and flexibility of SOU's online MBA program really drew me in," he said. "The fact that it was all online meant that I could work it within my schedule with my family and career."
Paths Cross for Father and Son
Huseby's son attended school on campus at Southern Oregon University for a few terms at the same time Dad was taking classes online.
"It was kind of funny. We joked about it a little bit, how I might just join him on campus," Huseby said. "It was certainly an oddity, especially given that I live in a place very far away from there. It's about a four-and-a-half-hour drive to get to Ashland from Portland. So yeah, it was a bit of a coincidence that we ended up at the same school.
"The value of the MBA program at Southern Oregon University is substantial. It helped me at a time when a lot of MBA programs would have been out of reach financially."
Ready, Set, Go!
A career start as a hardware engineer had Huseby looking for something that piqued his interest more. He joined a firm that allowed for international travel and fell in love with IT work.
"I really enjoy the ability to help people use technology in their day-to-day lives," he said. "I find it challenging. I find it ever-changing. There is always something new and it's always different, and so I have to constantly be learning new stuff and moving forward. The management side of it is where I've naturally progressed."
Given Huseby's passion for his work, his family and friends were very supportive and excited for his decision to go back for his MBA.
"There were days that I felt like, 'How do I have time to do this?' I work in education, though, so a lot of the people there are continually getting degrees and working on research. I work with a number of people who have their doctorates, so among my coworkers, it's kind of the norm."
Leading the Pack
Even though Huseby learned something practical from every SOU class he took, a couple courses stood out for helping him understand the pressures, motivations and processes of leading a business.
"I've always liked law, so Legal and Ethical Issues in Business and Management with Dr. Peter Angstadt was really interesting," he said. "I enjoyed learning more about how the legal system works on kind of a nuts-and-bolts level, but also how it impacts our lives.
"The professor had a lot of good real-life stories. He would use the issues that came up when he was the mayor of a town in Idaho to highlight some of the laws that we were studying."
Another favorite was Business Analytics with Dr. Patricia Styer, which helped him practice displaying or representing data in a visually effective way.
Huseby also did well on the ETS MBA exam as part of the capstone courses, scoring in the 95th percentile nationally among graduating MBA students.
"The program at SOU prepared me well for the test. Doing well on the exam validated the work and effort put in for the last couple of years," he said.
Close to the Finish Line
If the pandemic allows, Huseby plans to attend graduation in person.
"I plan to go, if nothing else so my kids see me finish," he said. "My middle son is graduating from high school this spring as well, so it's going to be an exciting time in our house!"
His ultimate career goal is to take on a C-suite or senior-level management position in IT or Operations. He sees himself as a strategic leader at the executive level and hopes to have an impact on
business beyond just the technology."
The MBA online program at SOU has put him one step closer to this dream, and he recommends it to anyone.
"I would tell people that it seems like a lot of work and a big commitment, but if you just get into it and start doing it, it's amazing how doable it really is even if you have a busy home life and career."
Learn more about the SOU online MBA program with a Concentration in Business Analytics.
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