Student Profile: Von Bradley, Midland MBA Class of 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hi, Von. We’d like to start with a little bit of information about you. Can you tell us about your professional experience? 

"I’ve spent nearly all of my adult career working in human services.

After graduating from Oral Roberts University, I was an associate pastor for some time, but I was really drawn to human services, and ended up going that route. In my professional career, I’ve worked in emergency shelters and residential treatment centers in influential roles. Currently, I work as a juvenile probation tracker at Community Based Services. In all of my work, I like to give back and mentor whenever I can. I’ve also been in the Nebraska Army National Guard since 2009."

In the human services world, it seems that Masters of Social Work or Education are more common than MBAs. What made you decide to pursue your MBA?

"Well, throughout all of my time in human services—throughout all of my career, really—I’ve been interested in entrepreneurship and business. And throughout my career, I saw a lot of MSWs, MEds, and even Masters of Public Administration, but not really a lot of MBAs.

That really came to light when one of the places I worked closed its doors. There were a lot of social workers who became managers, and I think the only person there who had an MBA was the CFO. And while many of those social workers made great managers, I still felt like there was something missing from a management standpoint. You hate to see a business close its doors any time, but I think that’s especially true when you’re talking about something in human services that really helps people. It was a great organization and they helped a lot of people, and for me the moment they closed their doors was tough to see. I really think it could’ve been avoided with a little more oversight and management from the top down. 

Which brings me to the MBA itself. I thought about some of those other degrees, and actually started work on my Masters in Counseling, but decided that an MBA would be much more versatile and really, applicable to my career. After going through the program, I’m glad I made the choice I did."

As all Midland MBA students are working in some capacity during the program, what can you say about lessons you learned from other students or benefits of the approach our program uses? 

"I will say that I enjoy the formatting of the program because of its flexibility. It’s kind of like a simulated business environment—you work in cross-functional teams where not everybody is working in the same city. That means that you’re forced to make the project work even though we all live and work in different places. That was really interesting to me, and I think has done a good job preparing me for life outside of school. 

As far as learning from other students, that’s definitely something I don’t think I would’ve gotten in an all-online program. One of my classmates, Aaron Luneke, was very outgoing and taught me a great deal about improving my networking skills. And Wes Lnenicka taught me a lot, too. He was much more of a numbers guy—I haven’t worked on numbers much in my career—and he helped me through that. He was a really positive influence. The same could be said for Nathan DeVries who really opened up my perspective and taught me a lot about business.

For me, learning from other people was really enjoyable. I loved that aspect of the program and really gained a lot from having access to the experiences and perspectives of all of my classmates in an in-person setting."

Do you have any advice for folks interested in getting their MBA? 

"My advice would really be to just do it. 

Looking at the news and working at my job before and after earning my MBA really showed me how much I learned. I’ve grown a lot from my degree. Not only has my worldview been greatly expanded—I now feel like I’m able to look at global issues, business and otherwise, and form better opinions and decisions based off of what I know—but I’ve grown personally, too. I’m able to use my education to look around at work and see things differently.

I really think the world would be a better place if more people had MBAs. Your MBA forces you to think deeper about issues in ways you just wouldn’t without that degree. I know I made the right decision and I can’t wait to see where my career takes me."

 

Interested in learning more about Midland’s hybrid MBA program? Reach out to us directly in the comments, via LinkedIn, through Twitter @MidlandMBA, or by phone at 402-941-6517—we’d love to give you more information.

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