It started last year, when one of Forrest Simpson’s employees asked two simple questions: “Where did you go to school?” and “What degree do you have?”
Simpson, who was a high-ranking executive at a retail company at the time, admitted that he never finished his bachelor’s degree.
“The way life happened, I chose to leave college for a really good paying job, and that moved me to Texas,” he said.
Simpson still wanted to finish his degree, and the questions made him realize he was finally ready to “tick that box off.” He enrolled in Lamar University’s online Bachelor of Business Administration in Management program, and is proud to be returning to school. But until now, he’s kept it a secret.
He wants to surprise family and friends with his accomplishment, so he’s told only a few people so far, including the person who most influenced his decision to study online.
“I had a friend who went through the online master’s program, and I thought, ‘Well, if they can do it, I can certainly do it,'” he remembered. “I’ve known about Lamar University for a long time. It’s a real-deal school. It’s a respected university, and I didn’t need to look any further.”
A Passion for Business
Simpson hopes to lay a solid foundation for his blossoming new consulting career by earning his BBA online. In fact, he’s already well on his way.
“I’ve branched out and started my own business consulting group,” he said. “As many business consultants do, we’re going to help business owners create more revenue, operate more efficiently, improve their financial health and be profitable.”
With a clear goal in mind and an impressive resume, Simpson feels a BBA is all he needs to prepare himself for the journey ahead, and for the MBA that he plans to purse after graduation.
“I got into a management role at a pretty high level where most people with that job would have at least a bachelor’s, if not a MBA,” he said. “I see no reason why I wouldn’t continue on doing the [Lamar University] master’s program, because it would only help me that much more.”
As Simpson completes his freshman year, he is already seeing his online courses pay off. He is making connections between lessons in the digital classroom and his work as business consultant, and sharing what’s he’s learned in his new career.
A Talent For Critical Thinking
Since Simpson has been taking classes online, he has found that he does his best work on projects and essays that involve critical thinking. What he finds most fulfilling, he revealed, is feeling like he is actually putting his brain to work.
“My favorite classes are ones that deal with theory and principle,” he said. “You’re allowed to be creative. As long as you’re thorough and put in the effort, you’ll be rewarded in a grade.”
Simpson said he particularly enjoyed BULW 1370: Business Environment and Public Policy, which addressed the ethical and moral aspects of business.
“Writing essays and analyzing a business in the global environment, and thinking about whether it’s right or wrong is fun work,” he said. “It’s challenging, and I like the critical thinking.”
Simpson said COMM 1321: Business and Professional Speech also gave him valuable skills he could use right away. He put everything he was learning in the course to work helping clients in his new consulting position.
“One of the operational aspects that I’ve witnessed several times in meetings that I’ve had with these business owners is that they’re not doing a great job in managing their people using healthy communication techniques to express the duties, build professional relationships in the workplace or interviewing,” he explained.
“The lessons in the speech class, as it pertains in interviews or employee relations, have been fresh on my mind, and I’ve noticed those are growth areas for these business owners and managers as I’ve gone into work with them.”
Paying It Forward
Even though it took more than a decade for Simpson to return to school after his first attempt at earning a degree, he is proud of what he has accomplished at Lamar University online so far. Seeing the true value of his education through his daily work with clients, he is now a firm believer in earning a degree at all costs.
“Life is busy. I’ve been busy, but now I’m on the other side of it,” he said. “I’m telling other friends of mine, ‘You have got to do this.'”
Simpson believes that though people will always find reasons not to get their bachelor’s degree, time and money spent on education ultimately pays off.
“It’s like investing,” he argued. “You just have to start, and then it builds on itself and becomes much easier as you get disciplined in your routine of just getting the assignments done. You’re not too busy. Everyone’s got that excuse, but everyone’s also got the availability. If you’re playing on Facebook or YouTube, you’ve got time to be doing something more important.”
A Secret Kept
While only a few select friends have known about Simpson’s commitment to college until now, he is looking forward to the day when he earns his BBA, and can show off his degree to family and colleagues. He is particularly excited about sharing his success with the two people who have meant the most to him in his life.
“I haven’t told my parents,” he said. “My plan is to finish it and send my mom and dad the invitation to graduation. They’ve gotten over the fact that I left a college scholarship and went to work and have been successful in that, but at the same time, I think it will be fun to tell them that I finally did it.”
There’s also one more person Simpson plans to invite — the former employee who got this whole thing started.
“I’m going to send a letter to that guy who asked me what school I went to and what degree I had,”
he said. “That guy prompted me to take the leap.”
If you’re ready to take a bold step and finish your bachelor’s degree, Lamar University online accepts applications year-round. Find out what a BBA in Management can do for your career.
Learn more about Lamar University’s Bachelor of Business Administration in Management online.