Graduate Spotlight: Shaun Bailey

Kettering University Online Graduate Shaun Bailey
Kettering University Online Graduate Shaun Bailey
Kettering University Online Graduate Shaun Bailey

Graduate Spotlight: Shaun Bailey

As Kettering University Online’s (KUO) Program Development Manager and Senior Instructional Designer, I have the pleasure of meeting our graduating students. In this new blog series, we highlight a few of our graduates who come from a wide range of educational, career, and geographical backgrounds.

We are happy to kick off this blog series by shining the Graduate Spotlight on Shaun Bailey. Shaun recently graduated from Kettering University Online’s MBA program. Also, Shaun works for Kettering University as the Director of Stewardship in the office of University Advancement. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

JL: Hi, Shaun. Thanks for taking the time to chat. Let’s start by having you share a little bit about your background and professional experience prior to pursuing the Online MBA program at Kettering University.
SB: Sure. My professional background is in public relations and marketing for nonprofit organizations operating in the environmental, animal welfare, and higher education sectors in greater Philadelphia, Detroit, and Flint.

JL: How did you find, and why did you choose, Kettering University Online?
SB: I chose to enroll in Kettering University Online after talking with three colleagues who had completed the program. At first, I didn’t think I would pursue it due to my responsibilities at home. I have two young children, after all. However, I eventually resolved to experiment by enrolling in a prerequisite course. It was the only way to truly know if I could integrate the course’s workload into my daily routine.

JL: Was there a moment that stood out as being particularly insightful or exciting?
SB: Within the first month, I gained enough insight to conclude that I may have what it takes to complete the program, and that was a real turning point. Before that, I was worried that I may be unable to adjust my sleep schedule, make enough time for coursework, or both. That trial experience really changed my outlook.

JL: How about a moment that was particularly challenging? How did you overcome that challenge?
SB: The moments I found most challenging were assignment deadlines in Managerial Accounting and Financial Management. Mind you, I’m a communicator by trade, not an accountant. Thankfully, I was able to overcome these challenges by attending my professors’ virtual office hours. It’s fair to say that I might have failed both courses otherwise, yet their help allowed me to achieve a B and a B+, respectively.

JL: I am so glad to hear you found office hours helpful. I always encourage students to drop in and see their instructors whether they need support with assignments or more information about their field of study and career options. I wish more students would take advantage of this resource. It sounds like, despite the challenges, the program offered valuable opportunities for skill development. In terms of the curriculum, which courses or subjects had the most impact on your learning and career growth?
SB: I found Project Management and the MBA Capstone classes to be the most impactful on my learning. Both courses required me to apply what I was learning to real-world scenarios as if performing feasibility studies. What is more, any employer or committee would be happy with the end products.

JL: Yep! That’s our Learn Today – Use Tomorrow philosophy in action! What skills do you think this program has helped you to enhance?
SB: More than anything, this program helped me to enhance my research skills so I can strategically plan future projects and programs. The group work also forced me to improve my collaboration skills. Lastly, the program’s courses helped to reveal my area of greatest potential growth, which continues to be corporate accounting and finance.

JL: Now that you’ve completed the program, how would you describe your overall experience, and what were some of your key takeaways?
SB: My overall experience was positive, and it reinforced my desire to lead a business rather than incur the risk of starting one.

JL: As a recent graduate, what advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing an Online MBA program, particularly at Kettering University?
SB: My advice is to first spend one to three years mastering your job. This will reduce your stress level. Second, explore how you will go about setting aside 20 to 25 hours or more per week for coursework, whether it’s every morning or night, on the weekends, or all of the above. Personally, I opted to wake up extra early every day. Third, experiment with your daily routine and sleep schedule to ensure that your plan is actionable. Fourth, register for your first course, see if your plan works and if not, take corrective action.

JL: That is some really great advice! So, looking back at your time as an Online MBA student, were there any standout resources, such as online tools, support services, or faculty, you found particularly helpful?
SB: Honestly, my standout resources were coffee, my wife and her homemade freezer meals, and grandparents spending extra quality time with my children – they were such a great support network. I also think the faculty’s helpfulness during virtual office hours was pivotal. Similarly, the quality and intuitiveness of Kettering’s online library were a major key to my success.

JL: How do you think an Online MBA program, such as the one at Kettering University, compares to traditional, on-campus MBA programs? Are there any notable advantages or disadvantages?
SB: Twenty years ago, I once earned an in-person master’s degree. During that time, I had a classmate who commuted from Mackinaw Island to East Lansing via snowmobile or airplane and automobile. His roundtrip commute totaled eight to 10 hours — a full day’s work by itself. Each day of in-person class required of him what I devoted to four days of virtual class, at minimum. So, suffice it to say, the virtual option gives those of us who are stretched for time an incredible advantage. The only disadvantage I see is the loss of a real-time conversation, similar to that which might occur on the job.

JL: What are your plans or aspirations for the future? How do you envision leveraging your Online MBA degree from Kettering University in your career?
SB: Five years ago, I had a terrible time finding work that would allow my family and me to relocate. I never want to experience a job search like that again. Therefore, my hope and expectation is that holding an MBA will help employers have more faith in my ability to take on new challenges and roles, as well as grant me the privilege to be selective with the offers I receive.

JL: Shaun, again thanks, for taking the time to share your experience with us!
SB: My pleasure!

KUO, once again, congratulates Shaun Bailey on receiving his MBA degree, and we wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors!

If you are interested in becoming a student, visit Kettering University Online for information about our MBA and other graduate programs.