Sometimes all you need is a little push to get back on track.
Shantel Boss enrolled in Bowling Green State University’s on-campus Master of Business Administration program, fueled by a desire for career advancement and a nudge from her employer’s tuition reimbursement program. Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from BGSU in 2015, she considered her alma mater the obvious choice for the MBA.
“I’m a manager at Sherwin-Williams,” Boss explained. “I found out that they offer a tuition reimbursement program, and since I was able to work it around my schedule, I knew I could go back.”
While the layperson’s experience of Sherwin-Williams comes from house painting, Boss says there is so much more.
“There are areas like protective and marine coatings where you’re painting boats, factories and machines. I want to become more professional in other areas, and my MBA gives me the qualification I need to do that.”
Boss, who graduated from the MBA program in August 2019, says BGSU stood out largely due to her experience with the professors.
“The faculty were very helpful,” she said. “They were rooting for you to win, so that whatever they needed you to do, they would help you do.”
The MBA program is also now available 100% online, making it more accessible to people like Boss who want to continue their education, but don’t live within traveling distance of campus.
Boss names three standout courses in her experience in the program: MBA 6080: Leading for Organizational Success, STAT 6010: Statistics for Managerial Decisions and MBA 6010: Quantitative Analysis for Managers.
“Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader [by Herminia Ibarra] was one of the books that we read,” she said, referring to MBA 6080. “It gives you the mentality to carry yourself as a professional person in the workforce. That is not something that you have to have a qualification for. It’s something that you practice.”
Her statistics class taught her how to make sense of the numbers she was seeing at work.
“I learned how to understand probabilities and how to go about connecting my own research to the actual factors,” she said. “I can now recognize what is significant and what is not significant.”
Boss further sharpened her analytical skills in Quantitative Analysis.
“That class helped me make correlations with what I see at work,” she said. “My job has programs like MicroStrategy, FactFinder and a lot of different profit-and-loss statement forms. Defining the terms I would see in those areas in that class helped me understand my job better.”
Juggling a job and master’s classes is not an easy task, but Boss learned how to manage her time, making the most of every spare minute she had.
“The weekend was pivotal for me,” she said. “I would do a lot of reading on the weekend, and sometimes, I would do the homework while I was at work if I was able to. I also pulled a lot of late nights. Sometimes, you have to stay up a little bit later to get ahead or get where you want to be for the next day.”
“It was challenging,” she said. “I was very tired, but because I was finishing up the program, I was already in a nice rhythm. I knew I had to push myself and fight the tiredness to finish up the courses. I had to actually tell myself that I didn’t necessarily need that A. I could get the B and everything would be okay.”
Things come up during pregnancy, and communicating with her professors helped Boss keep pace without missing a beat.
“The teachers were super flexible — so were assignments,” she said. “If I didn’t get an assignment in that day, I just had to let them know what happened.”
Boss says that getting an MBA was unique in her family, who were very supportive of her decision to earn the degree.
“Not a lot of people go back to school and further their education in my family, so they kind of looked at it as being an over-achievement,” she smiled. “They would tell me to stick with it. They said, ‘If this is what you want to do, make sure you do what you need to do to get it done.'”
For now, Boss is taking time off from work to care for her newborns Sariah and Serenity, but when she returns, she is ready for her career ascent thanks to the tools she received in the MBA program.
“In the next five years, I can definitely see myself working in a corporate environment, whether it’s with Sherwin-Williams or another company,” she said. “I also want to get more into real estate and start the process of owning properties.”
Boss sees herself returning to school for more advanced degrees in the future, but she wants to wait until her children have started school.
As for anyone who is considering an MBA, Boss says it’s all about balance.
“It’s going to be tough, but you can definitely get through it,” she said. “Don’t put things to the side, but don’t overdo it. There is going to be a big workload, but if you work on your time management skills, you’ll be fine.”
Learn more about the BGSU online Master of Business Administration program.