I’m 42. I have a full-time job. I have a family. Most people who know me would say that I am busy enough as it is with my “normal” life (whatever “normal” looks like these days.) So why did I start grad school again two years ago to pursue my MBA?
Since high school, I have wanted an MBA. I wanted to be a business woman, not a teacher. In fact, growing up, my mom often recommended I go into teaching. I fought her every step of the way. How I came to be a teacher is a completely different and wild story, but that will be told another time.
The MBA was put on hold for a couple of decades for many reasons. When we got married, my husband was working on his Ph.D., so it was not a god time for me to go back to school since we had bills to pay. Since I was teaching, a Master’s in Education made more sense so that is the first higher degree I received. And we had a couple of kids. That always makes going back to school a little more difficult for a working mom, too.
An MBA was on the back burner for a long time, and I was just fine keeping it there indefinitely.
Until two years ago. Through some personal and professional situations going on at the time, I felt a calling, from God to “Do. This. Now.” He was emphatic on the “NOW” part. This was in March 2013.
I rarely get such a direct call from God. I didn’t question it, but prayed (a lot) that if this wasn’t really from God, the doors would close.
But they didn’t close. They opened wide. An application was submitted and the acceptance was received. My first class was in September 2013.
In those first few months, there was much crying and much cursing. And more crying. And more cursing. I complained to God, “Why? This is cursing my family more than it is blessing it.”
When I needed it most, God confirmed on several occasions this is what I was, indeed, supposed to be doing.
Twice he reminded me, “I have called you to this, I will see you through it.” Both times were amidst severe doubt and praying for a sign to quit.
Once, through tears on the way home from class (Economics to be specific), I prayed for a sign to let me know I was still doing what He wanted me to do. I turned on the radio and heard, “You’re an overcomer.” Normally, I don’t take too much stock in such things, but I needed this song at that time.
Another time as I pulled onto the campus, I noticed a stained glass window on the main library’s dome I had never noticed before. I thought to myself, “I wonder what it would be like to teach here someday?” The immediate reply was, “I have greater things in store for you than this.”
What does one even do with that kind of answer? I immediately felt a surge of excitement followed by trepidation. Greater than being a university professor? I guess for many people, there are a million careers greater than being an educator, but being a university professor has been a dream of mine for a while. Every time I step onto a college campus, I feel “home” in terms of my career.
I began to dissect what “greater” often means in the Kingdom mindset. It usually doesn’t mean wealth, fame, or success, at least not by human standards. I want to explore this idea, too, but that will also be the topic of another post.
I began my MBA at Trevecca Nazarene University on September 12, 2013, and I finished on August 6, 2015, with a 4.0, which still amazes me considering I’m not even a business professional. I learned a tremendous amount of material, and I am so thankful for the professors I had who were not just experts in their fields, but who modeled Christ throughout their teaching and who challenged us to model Christ throughout our coursework and in all aspects of our lives.
Here a few fun facts about this journey I just completed (for those of you considering something similar):
- I took 14 courses, one at a time with each lasting 6 weeks. Class meetings were held every Thursday from 6:00-10:00 p.m.
- I literally wrote over 1,000 pages of papers, projects, and homework assignments.
- My lowest grade final grade in a class was a 95% and my highest a 116%.
- I failed two quizzes in Economics, but they didn’t count toward my grade since our four lowest ones were dropped.
- The longest textbook I read was just over 1200 pages (thank you, Project Management). Yes, I did read all of it even though we weren’t required to.
- The longest paper I wrote was 59 pages and had 38 sources (Marketing).
- I averaged 15-30 hours per week of course work, depending on the class.
Despite all the accolades, I still don’t know why I was called to this program at this time. The MBA won’t affect my current teaching position, and I have no plans to enter the world as a business professional. I need a doctorate to move up to university level teaching. An Ed.D. is actually my next goal, but I plan to take a few months off to reacquaint myself with my family and friends and to read as many books as I can of my own choosing before jumping back into my final round of grad school.
This was a wild, difficult, and incredibly challenging season for me and my family. My professor in my very class told us as we embarked on this endeavor, “the greater the sacrifice, the greater the potential reward.” I have no idea what this “reward” might be for me, but I am nonetheless filled with gratitude that God made good on his promise to “see me through it.”