Eric Peterson already ran his own information technology (IT) consulting business when he decided to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Benedictine University.
While he knew just about everything there was to know about the business of IT, the business of business was another matter.
"Although I had my own business before I started my graduate degree, I did not have all the moving pieces in place to help me succeed," Peterson said.
At Benedictine, Peterson learned from faculty with real-world experience. Faculty like John Draut, a business executive for more than two decades who has been preparing students for the challenges they will face in the business world for 30 years, including the last 15 at Benedictine University.
"John Draut was one of my favorite teachers at Benedictine," Peterson said. "He taught me that the numbers are important to running a business, but the importance lies in understanding what the numbers mean. He also made learning fun and went out of his way to find exciting ways to teach the material.
"Tom Yu was another great teacher," he added. "His international business experience helped me think globally about my business. And Rick Holman is a lawyer who taught business law. This could have been a difficult class, but he had a great way of teaching us relevant business law topics without getting us bogged down by the legal code of it.
"The teachers were incredible," he said.
Many of Benedictine's programs – including the MBA – are designed so that students progress through the program at the same pace. This allows students to develop relationships with others who can serve as valuable learning resources.
"I really enjoyed the other students in the classes," Peterson said. "They had a wide range of work history, so they brought an interesting point of view to the class. The classes were also packed with useful information, and I strongly believe that the more energy you put into them, the more knowledge you gain."
Although he was a self-employed consultant prior to enrolling at Benedictine, Peterson also gained a greater appreciation for the intricacies of running a successful business.
"I think the most important thing I learned while going to school is that it takes a whole team of individuals to create a successful business," he said. "Although I learned many topics, it takes true experts at each to succeed. I have a great appreciation of the account, legal and marketing aspects of business, which were aspects I knew little about."
Peterson's goals have not changed since earning an MBA at Benedictine. He still plans to grow his own business. But he realizes now that armed with a master's degree, he has more options available to him, including working for a larger company if he decides that he no longer wants to be a business owner.
"I believe my graduate degree from Benedictine has given me the confidence I need to succeed in business," he said. "I feel my education has helped me look at the big picture of my business and will continue to help me improve it in the future."