Faculty Profile: Joe Schmidt

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Joe Schmidt, who earned his MBA from Marquette University, is VP of Operations at Midtown Crossing, as part of Mutual of Omaha, in Omaha, Nebraska. Joe teaches Managerial Accounting in the Midland MBA program.

Hi, Joe. To start, please tell us about your background.

My background is fairly diverse. I started out at West Point, then graduated and spent about seven and a half years in the Army. After the Army, I worked at GE Healthcare in Wisconsin for several years. From there, I took over as director of Billings and Disbursement at Monster.com. Around that time I earned my MBA from Marquette, after which I moved down to Omaha and started working for Mutual of Omaha as an Internal Management Consultant. I was asked to become Chief Procurement Officer for Mutual and in 2010, was asked to become VP of Operations and Finance for Midtown Crossing, the position I’m still in today.

What do you teach in the Midland MBA program?

I teach Managerial Accounting.

Are you able to utilize your own experience in teaching that class?

Absolutely. I’m able to bring relevant examples that students are familiar with. For example, everyone in the class is familiar with the Element Hotel, and I’m able to say what it’s going through, why that’s happening, and work with the students to show them how we operate. It’s great to be able to take the academic side and translate it into something students are able to see and do. In the last class I taught, I had a student who was in charge of the meat department at a grocery store, and we were able to use examples from his work in class to contextualize what I was teaching.

Do you think that working full-time while teaching gives you an advantage?

Yes—Midland’s hybrid format is excellent for that. It allows individuals to understand not only the logic behind what we’re teaching, but also to see the execution behind what we’re teaching in their own jobs and careers. Although there’s nothing wrong with professors who work only in academia, in those cases it can be hard to relate to what’s going on with individual practices and jobs.

So for me and for my students, who are also working full time, we’re able to ask, “Why is my company doing this?” and break it down so everyone can understand why certain businesses act in certain ways. I think teaching that way is much better for students.

Tell us more about the hybrid format in practice.

I think it’s an excellent format. The mix between in-person and online technology is very useful for me. I think the online element is very helpful—it allows individuals to go through and work at their own pace. With a program that’s all online, there’s not a lot of context, which can be difficult. But with a program like Midland’s that mixes both, you can take the online element, and then come to class and ask questions in-person, or work as a group to build connections.

It really helps with work-life balance, too. Certainly, the program is still a lot of work, but the way it’s arranged, there’s still time to work at your own pace. Students only commit to one long weekend a month, and then on the other weekends, they’re able to do it on their own time. I do online classes every weekend, and there are quite a few students who watch my presentations later in the day or weekend when they’re most focused. That’s very beneficial and in action, I think the hybrid format is great.

Do you have anything else you’d like to add about the program?

One thing that I don’t think is discussed often is the fact that the program is in Omaha. Although Midland University is based in Fremont, the MBA program decided to come to where the majority of the students are. That means there’s less travel time for in-person classes on Friday and Saturday, which I think is great. Midland has done a great job with this program.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.