Momentum Propels Degree Completion Alumni to Grad School, Professional Success
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
This article appears in the new edition of the Brown Bulletin, the magazine published for alumni and friends of John Brown University.
Life happens. Whether it’s a personal or professional opportunity or simply a shifting of priorities, many don’t get the chance to finish their bachelor’s degrees as traditional-aged students.
That’s why John Brown University created the Degree Completion Program – so that working adults could use the credit they’ve previously earned to finish their bachelor’s degrees on a schedule that works with their busy lives.
After graduating from high school, Jeff Hendrix attended six different universities in three different states while moving six times for his burgeoning career. He relocated to northwest Arkansas in 2004 for a professional opportunity, and saw the chance to finish his degree at JBU.
“John Brown University offered a seamless program for the working adult to sit with admissions counselors, evaluate existing credit hours, and quickly roadmap a program towards degree completion,” Hendrix said.
After meeting with his admissions counselor, Hendrix enrolled in JBU’s Degree Completion Program as part of the NW49 organizational management (OM) cohort. The OM degree not only gave him the opportunity to expand his professional network by forming relationships with his professors and fellow classmates, the one-night-per-week format allowed Hendrix to maintain his personal and professional priorities while finishing his degree.
“As a working adult, my greatest concern was having the time needed to attend classes and do out-of-class work,” Hendrix said. “JBU's Degree Completion Program was perfectly structured with class one evening a week, and I would utilize other afternoons or weekend time to complete out of class work. I never felt over-whelmed by the experience, and with today's technology, professors were always accessible.”
Hendrix earned his bachelor’s degree from JBU in 2005, but has remained in touch with members of his OM cohort. “I still have very close connections with many of my classmates, several of whom are current business partners, customers, and friends whose counsel I often seek,” Hendrix said.
Indeed, the cohort model utilized in the organizational management program was one of Hendrix’s favorite things about his time at JBU, and something he found to be practical for his career. “Grouping students in cohorts from start to finish promotes shared learning and the interaction skills necessary to succeed in real life situations,” he said.
Because OM students are required to have relevant professional experience prior to admission, they not only learn from the academic and professional credentials of their professors, they also gain knowledge from the experience of their fellow classmates. Our goal is for OM students to be able to immediately apply what they learned in our classrooms to their careers.
“The professors at JBU offered a combined academic and experiential approach in content delivery that I found to be tremendously applicable to my professional needs at that time,” Hendrix said. “In many cases, my real-world professional project list overlapped with my academic material, allowing me to apply learning as well as complete course work simultaneously.”
In the past 10 years, Hendrix not only earned his bachelor’s degree, he continued on to receive his MBA from JBU, too. He currently serves as the Walmart Team Lead for Pfizer Consumer Healthcare.
Additionally, Hendrix serves as chairman of the board of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber of Commerce. “I have the utmost respect for Jeff and his commitment to helping our Chamber grow,” Krista Khone, vice president for leadership and special projects of the Bentonville/Bella Vista Chamber, said. “Jeff brings a passion to everything he does and that passion is contagious. He has a wonderful way of making everyone feel like they can be successful. His leadership is an asset not only to the Chamber, but to the entire community.”
Hendrix is thankful for his time at JBU. “I am truly grateful to JBU for allowing me the chance to advance my career, create lifelong friendships, and most importantly, to have my children see their dad finish what he started 19 years earlier,” Hendrix said.