1st Quarter, 2009
In 1978 I left college just a year short of earning my degree, running into financial difficulties. Now, thirty years later, I’m married with 3 grown children and have my first real opportunity to return to school. What I’ve discovered very quickly is that even with 30+ years of work experience, I’m learning more about what I currently do, what’s its called, and how I can do it better. Returning to school has been and continues to be an enlightening, eye-opening journey. Occasionally the instructors even encourage me to share some of my personal experience with the class. This has been much better the second time around.
A Portion of Craig’s Winning Essay:
I’ve returned to school after a 30 year hiatus; I am finding it an interesting and rewarding experience. I last attended college in 1978. Unfortunately I left college just a year short of earning my degree, running into financial difficulties. I had planned to take time off intending to return at a later date. Now, thirty years later, I am married with 3 children and find I have my first real opportunity to return to school. Over the last 30 years I maneuvered through the corporate environment cultivating a reasonable career within the international trading community, developing products for import and export.
Unfortunately, as with many people, I was laid off during poor economic times. I came to realize after losing my position, despite having reasonably successful careers and generating profitable results for the various companies, it was extremely difficult to acquire the interest of headhunters and HR personnel without a having degree – specifically an MBA. I relocated to another city two years ago to accept a new position after being out of work for 11 months. Unfortunately in accepting this position, it meant taking a considerable reduction in pay and leaving my family temporarily. My family has remained in Texas to allow my youngest to finish High School. He attends a special school for children with learning differences. Through these circumstances I found I had the opportunity to return to school and complete my degree.
As my focus in business has been working with suppliers in HK, China and Taiwan, I’ve changed my major from Liberal Arts to International Business. I discovered that the local university offered just the right program. Initially I was concerned with conflicts of class and work schedules. To my relief, the environment at the University of Central Oklahoma is very welcoming and flexible. The instructors and the students have both been supportive. So much so that I’ve convinced my daughter to transfer from OU and join me at UCO. I still have two more years yet to complete my degree, as I can only muster the time to take two evening courses a semester. I typically work 50-60 hours a week and often have have conference calls in the evenings coordinating with vendors. This limits class time. As I am quite active in the Boy Scouts (both my sons are Eagle scouts), my weekends are often quite bust as well. My desire is to obtain a BA and move onto a MBA program at UCO. This opportunity will allow me an opportunity to advance within the company to a Director position, giving me the ability to implement some of the new concepts I have discovered in school. I find myself in the position of paying for two UCO tuitions, supporting a student attending a special school and maintaining two separate households in two different states. As you can imagine, it has placed a considerable strain on the family budget. My hope is to qualify for the scholarship. This will help me complete my BA and enroll in the UCO MBA program. I like to think that my attendance at school has inspired my children to remain in school and obtain their degrees. Thank you for this opportunity to be considered. I look forward to hearing from you soon.