Nathan Murphy has always had a gift for math and analytics. He’s also pretty good at earning college degrees.
Murphy graduated with a Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern Indiana in June 2017. Two years earlier, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in finance with a minor in economics — and a 3.68 GPA — from USI.
“The MBA is something I always thought about getting,” Murphy said. “I was talking to some different people who had gone at different times to get their MBA, and some of them had gone straight into it from their undergrad, while some had worked for a couple of years and gone back.
“I pretty much came to the conclusion it would be easier going into it while I still had a student mindset. Also, once I get out and start working and had a potential for advancement, I wouldn’t have to go back and get an MBA because I’ve already got it taken care of. I basically tried to set myself up.”
Murphy appears to have done just that by landing a job as a financial analyst at St. Vincent Health shortly before he completed the MBA program.
“What I’m doing now is a lot of what I wanted to do,” he said. “It’s not so much just straightforward accounting — it’s a mix of finance and analysis, as well. Whenever I see something, I like to not just know where it’s coming from but how it’s getting there. That’s what really drew me into the finance field.”
Murphy, 24, was pretty much destined to attend USI. He has lived his entire life in Evansville, where he graduated from F.J. Reitz High School in 2011. He played lacrosse and soccer and ran track for the Panthers and still loves to play sports. His dad [Pat] also lives “about 30 seconds from USI.”
“I had a couple of family members who went to USI for both undergraduate and graduate programs,” Murphy said. “My mom [Laura] didn’t get an MBA, but she was a nurse and got her Master of Healthcare Administration from USI. There was a pretty big gap in between her undergraduate and that degree, and she said it was pretty difficult doing it that way. She saw the benefit of going straight into it.”
Additionally, Murphy worked as a graduate assistant while he was in the MBA program. His duties included working with grant applications, managing the career services LinkedIn account, and budgeting and allocating grant money.
“Working at USI definitely helped me with school,” he said. “I had seen some of the professors working on campus and had spoken to them before I had them. It helped to balance my time, as well, because the professors understood the job I was doing. It really helped out with my schedule. I was working two part-time jobs, so I was basically working full-time.”
The knowledge Murphy gained in the MBA program provided the foundation he needed to begin his career a few months before graduation.
“With the undergrad, you learn more of a general, broad base of courses specific to your major, whereas the MBA helps you tie together all of the different aspects of business and how that plays into a business setting or a management role, if you end up in there,” he said.
Not surprisingly, MNGT 611: Leadership Skills and Organizational Behavior was Murphy’s favorite course in the MBA program.
“What I liked about it was it really didn’t involve a textbook,” he said. “It’s not just learning equations; it’s more hands-on and seeing how that stuff might play into what you might be doing later in life. There weren’t many courses I didn’t enjoy, but that was one that really stuck out to me.”
Murphy said he enjoyed the flexibility of the online courses in the MBA program, now available 100 percent online.
“The online courses made it a lot easier with my schedule,” he said. “It really did help. Honestly, a lot of people had busier schedules than me, so it’s really helpful for people to be able to do it solely online.”
Given his age and the rapid start to his career, the sky appears to be the limit for Murphy.
“The MBA definitely helped me land my job,” he said. “I know there were several other candidates when I interviewed for this position. I believe that MBA helped set me apart — especially having it at such an early age.”
Murphy believes the MBA program is a great option for leaders from all types of organizations.
“It’s a big decision,” he said. “It’s something to think about, but I would highly recommend it to anyone who is going into a business or management role. It really gives you some tools and skills, even if you’re not in business, to apply it to whatever industry you are in, leading others and running more of a smooth business. I would suggest it to anybody who will ever be in a role like that or is even considering it. It gives you a lot of options.”
Learn more about the USI online Master of Business Administration program.