My JBU experience
"In many ways, I feel like earning my degree has helped my education catch up to my experience."
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Angelique O'Bryan spends her days as the Director, HR & Operations for Collective Bias, a leading shopper social media company based in Rogers, Arkansas. Having over 12 years HR and operations experience working with start-ups and smaller businesses, she is passionate about growing healthy organizations so that their employees can be happy as well as productive. To support her continued professional growth in the field of Human Resources, she holds both the SHRM-SCP and SPHR certifications.
O'Bryan is also the co-owner of two local businesses. Timber Valley Homes which specializes in new residential construction in Rogers and Bentonville, Arkansas, and Iconoclast Custom Wine Cellars which offers a wide variety of wine storage options to the residents of northwest Arkansas. Her passions away from work include serving as a board member for the Northwest Arkansas Women's Shelter and supporting the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) on a local level through the Northwest Arkansas Human Resources Association (NOARK). More than anything else in life, O'Bryan enjoys spending time with her husband and three sons.
O'Bryan recently earned her Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management through JBU's Degree Completion Program and is now pursuing her MBA at JBU.
Why did you choose JBU to finish your degree?
I started as a non-traditional student at a community college and earned both Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees while working full-time, but I couldn’t really figure out what I wanted to do. I realized that I really needed a bachelor’s degree to further my career, so I started looking at programs that are similar to JBU’s Degree Completion Program. I looked at local colleges and a couple of online programs, and I just really felt like John Brown made an attempt to engage me while the other universities didn’t necessarily do that. During my admissions process at JBU, I was able to get the guidance I needed and get my questions answered, and I didn’t feel like a number. I was out there on my own, and I didn’t have anyone I could ask those questions. So to have an admissions advisor who was willing to answer all of my questions – even the ones that might have seemed crazy – was really valuable.
What was your experience like in the Organizational Management program? Were there any classes or instructors that you particularly liked?
All of the classes were great, and there were none that I thought shouldn’t be part of the program. But my favorites were the ones that focused on creating your own mission, vision and values statements and the entrepreneurship course.
Clayton Anderson was a great teacher. He really made an effort to connect with each of the students and make sure that we understood the rationale behind the assignments, which really aided in our comprehension. There were other teachers who were great, too. . . men and women who valued their students and made everyone feel like they could get their questions answered and who really facilitated the learning experience rather than just pushing information to us. The collaboration was so valuable.
What was it like being a member of a cohort?
I thought it was really fantastic. My cohort got along really well, and I came away with what I consider to be lifelong friends. There was value in every single person in the cohort and I’m grateful that I got to learn with a group of professionals.
What would you tell a prospective student about the program?
I would tell them that the cohort setup is really supportive. If you’ve been alongside even just a couple of students for several courses, you know the bonds you develop. But when it’s a large group and it’s long term, it’s even stronger. When someone has a life event, you band together and take care of each other. It really is very much like a family in that way. We had several class members who went through tough times during the program, and we all just took care of each other. That was something special that you’re not necessarily going to get with other programs. If you feel like you might benefit from that kind of support network, that’s a fantastic thing that you could take away from your John Brown experience.
You started your MBA at JBU this summer. What else is on the horizon for you now that you’ve finished your bachelor’s degree?
I’ve been really lucky career wise, and I’ve been given opportunities that I didn’t necessarily have the traditional qualifications for. So, in many ways, I feel like earning my degree has helped my education catch up to my experience.
I also want to set an example for my children; I think education is important and I wanted to show them how important it is instead of just telling them.