Returning to college to earn a master’s degree while the world shut down made perfect logistical sense to Jacci Carpenter.
“With COVID-19 starting up, I got an email from Bowling Green State University recruiting saying the university was waiving the application fee and the GRE requirement,” she said. “It was a spontaneous decision. I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ Within six hours, I had already been accepted.”
Carpenter completed the online Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Supply Chain Management program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) with a 4.0 GPA in August 2022.
“I did some online classes during my undergraduate degree program, but it was brand new at the time,” she said. “I went from the basics, like English that didn’t need a lot of teaching, to full-speed ahead with the online MBA.
“It felt like I went 20 years into the future where everything was online and the whole nine yards. It was interesting. I picked it up working with the fully online format right away.”
A senior logistics analyst for Niagara Bottling Company who lives in Lakeland, Florida, Carpenter enjoyed the flexibility of the online format while working full time.
Carpenter started her current role five months before graduating after her third stint working in various positions at XPO Logistics.
“It was perfect,” she said. “I could easily go from work to class. I even had the flexibility with my schedule to do schoolwork while I wasn’t in meetings.
“I have my dream job now. I am a project manager and a problem-solver. This is what I have worked for my entire career.”
Carpenter is from Bellefontaine, Ohio, and started college as a journalism major before she changed majors and graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in history and political science in 2009. Then, she stumbled into the supply chain field.
“I graduated from college during the last great recession,” she said. “I needed something. I applied to 120 different positions. I got on with YRC Freight in Pontiac, Michigan.
“Even though it was a part-time job, I took it. I had worked for the company as a part-time biller while I was a student in college. I thought that if that’s where I am headed, all the better. I lucked out.”
Although Carpenter had considered a return to higher education before enrolling in the online MBA in Supply Chain Management program, she didn’t think it would ever happen.
“Because history and political science was my first love, I was thinking about doing a master’s in presidential history,” she said. “I got too busy to devote that much time to study. I would have to learn a language, which was a requirement for a master’s in history.”
Supply Chain Management and Strategy Design and Implementation, the MBA’s capstone, were Carpenter’s two favorite courses in the program curriculum.
“The instructors in the supply chain classes had a lot of real-world experience, so I liked those courses a lot,” she said. “Shockingly, I took extra accounting classes. I especially enjoyed Dr. Terence Pitre’s classes in financial accounting.
“I was able to use the information I learned in the program at my previous job and my current one. I could even give real-life experiences during discussion posts and explain how they work to my classmates.”
Carpenter had lots of support from her family and friends from the time she enrolled in the online MBA in Supply Chain Management program in August 2020 until she walked the stage on graduation day.
“They were excited for me,” she said. “A real impetus behind me going back to school is my sister, Britni, who has her MBA in Accounting…The commencement ceremony was fun. My husband, Brian, my mother-in-law, my parents and my sister and her son came up to see me walk.”
Even though Carpenter is doing what she loves for a living, she believes that having an MBA creates career opportunities and increases her marketability.
“This degree helps tons,” she said. “Ever since I graduated, I have gotten a resurgence of emails about positions that weren’t available to me before, when I didn’t have an MBA. I got a lot of good value out of the program at Bowling Green.”
Now that Carpenter is a two-time alum, she hopes to enjoy traveling the world with her husband, an airline pilot. However, she wouldn’t trade the experience of returning for a master’s degree and is thankful she received that recruiting email.
“I would tell anybody considering this program, ‘Don’t think about it — just do it,'” she said. “It’s difficult, but at the same time, it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done.”