Zachary Thobe earned his Master of Business Administration from Bowling Green State University in December 2014, and he has seen steady career advance ever since.
“I work at Marathon Petroleum Company in Findlay, Ohio,” he said. “I’ve been here for about eight years. I started in the engineering group managing large capital projects, and I’m currently in a business development role.”
Thobe previously earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University in 2012, but his growing interest in commercial education prompted him to seek out MBA programs.
“I wanted to couple the MBA with my engineering experience,” he said. “When I looked at the degree options, and saw that Bowling Green was a highly ranked university, this seemed like a natural fit for me.”
The Value of Others
Students without a business degree may be reluctant to pursue an MBA for fear that the concepts may go over their head. In Thobe’s experience, this should not be a cause for concern. Any student who has made it through their undergrad will have enough natural talent and plenty of people around to help them succeed in the program.
“The way my brain is wired, I was able to connect a little bit quicker on some of the statistical modeling and financial management,” he said. “There were other courses that I was challenged by and was forced to step outside of my box, but we had a pretty tight cohort where everybody was willing to help out. If somebody was an accountant by trade, they trained me when I needed help and vice versa.”
With so much professional help around him in his cohort, Thobe thinks that the information one receives from classmates is just as important as what one learns from the class itself.
“We were all bringing different perspectives to the table,” he said. “You had some finance majors, accountants, lawyers and engineers like myself. You just name the undergrad, and it was represented within that class. From a diversity standpoint and the value of other perspectives, I learned a lot from many others in the class, and I hope others can say the same about me.”
The real secret to making it through an advanced degree program is knowing that you need not do it alone.
“Understand that when you need to reach out and get more information, you have good references and ability to connect the dots on what you learned globally from the program,” Thobe said. “I have no regrets doing my MBA. I think it’s helped me explore different career fields in my business adventure here.”
Now students from across the country can learn and work together in the BGSU online MBA program.
Learning From the Best
The professors who teach classes online are often the same ones students see on campus. These professors are not just academics. They have the real-world experience that makes them authorities in their subject.
“I had one professor, Thomas Smith, who spent several years at Cooper Tire in their statistical department, and I think he had been finishing his career there or recently retired when he also taught at Bowling Green State University,” Thobe remembered. “He did a good job of making statistics and financial management practical with real business-like scenarios and teaching applications like Minitab with its modeling and regression analysis.”
Thobe was able to immediately apply his newfound knowledge about regression analysis to his own enterprise thanks to the examples he was exposed to in class. If he ever hit a snag, he always had someone to reach out to.
“I even reached out to Mr. Smith after some of the coursework,” Thobe said. “He was quick on responding to emails and giving some advice.”
Though it has been several years since Thobe earned his MBA, what still stands out is the solid base of understanding he received from the program as a whole.
“I really enjoyed the time,” he said. “I know enough to be able to speak with some intelligence about
Thobe is proud to have met the costs he faced in the program because they have enhanced the benefits that much more.
“It worked well, and I learned to appreciate the challenge because that was the reward at the end,” he said. “I was able to achieve a goal that challenged me and taught me a lot.”
A Family Affair
Thobe appreciates the help he received from his professors and his classmates throughout the program, but he also wishes to give a special thanks to his sister Lindsey Dorsten, who happened to be pursuing an MBA of her own at the same time Thobe was working on his.
“We were kind of on the same timetable,” he said. “We were supporting each other, bouncing ideas off of each other. We weren’t necessarily comparing notes, but we were both in agreement that we wouldn’t change anything from the experience. We were both very satisfied and happy that we chose to pursue the MBA programs at, for me, Bowling Green State University, and for her, Ohio University.”
Thobe is not alone in his satisfaction with the degree.
“I would say everybody who was in my cohort, and everybody who has pursued any continuing education, are very thankful and happy that they did it,” he said.
Thobe only spent about two years between finishing his undergrad and starting his graduate degree, and he would advise prospective students to do the same.
“Don’t overthink it because the more you think about it, you’ll likely talk yourself out of it or continue to defer the decision,” he said. “If it’s something that, deep down, you know you want to do and it continues to come to the forefront of your thoughts in your brain, it’s something you should go after and pursue.”
Learn more about the BGSU online Master of Business Administration program.