Anthony Gregory conquered a new frontier.
The Indianapolis-based aerospace manufacturing project manager graduated from the Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Engineering Management online program at the University of Southern Indiana in Fall 2018.
''At first, I didn't think I would ever go back to get my master's degree,'' Gregory said. ''However, my best friend from high school, Christian Ely, mentioned that USI was starting an online MBA program. He's also a USI alum. I thought about it a little bit, and I started coming up with excuses to why I shouldn't do it.''
However, the universe seemingly urged him to return to college after he graduated from the Bachelor of Business Administration program at USI in 2014.
''First, I got accepted to the program, which I was not sure would happen,'' Gregory said. ''The tuition at USI has always been pretty affordable — the online MBA program definitely attests to that.
''It also helped that I already knew a lot of the business professors. Plus, my company paid for the program, which was a big push. Something was telling me I needed to do it.''
When Gregory was 18 years old, he started working part time during Christmas and summer breaks for Morris Machine Company. He became a full-time employee after graduating with a bachelor's degree.
''It's incredible to see what we can do with both composite and metal alloys — to make something out of nothing,'' he said. ''The fact that it can also go 30,000 feet in the air is amazing to me.''
After attending USI on campus for four years, Gregory was a bit apprehensive about enrolling in a fully online MBA program.
''I like engaging with people, face to face,'' he said. ''That was a reservation I had about doing the MBA program online but there were not any issues. Even when it came to working on group projects, it flowed naturally, like it should.
''You still have that clear communication if you have questions for your teaching assistant or professor — they are just a phone call or an email away. The program was absolutely manageable, and I enjoyed the flexibility of it the most.''
The Screaming Eagle Has Landed
Gregory grew up in Brown County, about an hour south of Indy. He wasn't sure which area of business to pursue for a career when he enrolled at USI as an undergrad in 2010. Like gravity, Morris Machine pulled him back in after graduation, and he has never looked back after launching his career.
''The best thing I took away from the MBA program was that it widened my eyes on the overall scope of what a business can be,'' he said. ''It wasn't just one aspect, but all of the aspects the business. From supply chain to accounting to quality, it really hit the nail on the head on all aspects, like it is structured to do.''
The online MBA with a concentration in Engineering Management program allowed Gregory to fit school into his life while working full time by taking exactly the course load that suited his schedule.
''Being an online program and fairly accelerated, it is very structured, which is nice,'' he said. ''That still gave me the flexibility to be able to do what I needed to do. I took one class at a time and spent 10-15 hours per week on school.''
IM 641: Principles and Practices of Quality Management, IM 611: Principles and Practices of Project Management and ACCT 601: Accounting for Decision Making and Control were Gregory's three favorite courses in the curriculum.
''Accounting has never been my strong suit,'' he said. ''I had three or four accounting classes in undergraduate, but having a little bit of experience in the real world and understanding how accounting principles actually work in a business helped push it over the edge.
''One thing that was really nice about the program is that it helped me influence more of a structure at Morris Machine. For a long time, we acted like a mom-and-pop type of shop. They would have grown with or without me, but those classes helped me realize what the company could be.''
Ready to Blast Off
Now that Gregory has an MBA and nearly five years of work experience under his belt, he hopes to send his career into the stratosphere.
''I would like to either be an executive at my current organization, or another one, or own my own business,'' he said. ''I would still like for that to be in the manufacturing industry.''
Gregory, who enjoys cycling, golfing and boating in his free time, is happy he did not let the opportunity to return to USI for a graduate degree vanish into thin air.
''I have noticed that a lot of customers I deal with have taken MBA programs at other universities,'' he said. ''They also seem to encourage their new employees to do so. It is definitely a good experience for me to have.
''My parents and friends were very supportive of it. I have a lot of friends who were in graduate programs, as well. They also helped influence my decision to go back.''
When it comes to success in the program, Gregory believes it is all about effort.
''You are going to get out of it what you put into it,'' he said. ''The online program is really about what you want to do with it. If you don't read the course material, you are not going to learn it. My expectation was to learn something new, and I can definitely check that off the list multiple times over.''
Learn more about the USI online MBA program with a concentration in Engineering Management.
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