Name: Michael Whitehouse

Position: Equipment Coordinator, Public Safety Chapman University

Years Employed at Chapman: 5½ years

Expected Graduation: May, 2021

How did you come to learn about the employee education benefits?

I learned about the education benefits during orientation. I perked up a bit at the mention of the employee benefits. When I had received my bachelors degree, I thought I was done with school. However, here, the possibility of a Master’s degree was available. I felt like I wasn’t reaching my potential, and had more to offer if given the opportunity. The MBA provided me with the opportunity to apply myself better.

Why did you choose to pursue an MBA?

Once I decided to pursue a Masters degree, I chose a few older people who I admired and looked up to and explained the situation to them and asked them which degree they thought I should go for. All of them, without hesitation, said MBA. No one asked which degrees were available or sat to think, they all immediately said MBA. Most of them stated reasons similar to it being the degree that is the most versatile and opens the most doors.

How has your experience been throughout your time in the Argyros School?

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Argyros School. Here friendships have been made, concepts to business have been learned, and potential benefits of my education has never been closer. From learning about the degree and even the application process to meeting with professors, the staff and faculty have been so kind and helpful. They go out of their way to help you succeed, you just need to take the steps. When coworkers talk about going to school at Chapman, I urge them to talk to someone in the department. It was the most helpful step that helped me start my degree.

What advice do you have for fellow employees looking to use their education benefits?

I wholeheartedly encourage people to learn more about the benefits. Talk to HR, talk to the staff members in the school you want to apply to and start. It doesn’t hurt to start now. It is a lot of work, but I do not regret the progress I’ve made or the time I’ve committed to my MBA.

I should also mention that you should of course discuss it with your spouse. My wife supported me applying when we were the only two in our little family. Half way through the first semester we found we were pregnant, and now with two kids under the age of 4, she has been a rock going above and beyond taking care of the house and kids, especially during exams, project due dates and during finals week.

How has your MBA helped you as a CU employee?

The MBA has helped me look at my current position in a different light and analyze specific job goals in a different light. After a class involving digital marketing, for example, my supervisor wanted to discuss the benefits of social media applications for our department. 

In another way I have further networked with employees in different departments. I have of course built connections with the staff at the Argyros School, but I have also built relationships with other colleagues that are taking the MBA with me. One coworker just finished up his last final this week! Congrats Michael! I also had the opportunity to connect with Brian Powell, head of HR for a class project I was working on. Brian was so kind and was willing to meet with me in person so I could ask him about things relating to the Human Resources side of business.

Has your MBA changed your career path or goals?

The MBA is a stepping stone. I don’t want to overemphasize what it can do. It isn’t the end all (unfortunately), but it is a stepping stone that opens a lot more doors and increases my potential in the job market. With the current rocky terrain of the job market from the pandemic, prudence in accepting a new job is paramount. When talking to people about potential job positions I never thought I would say, “Well, let me take a look at your most recent 10-K filing and get back to you.” However, I now know what that is and have tools to examine the companies I might apply to.

What’s next career-wise now that you’re close to finishing your MBA?

Chapman has been very good to me and I am happy to stay at Chapman University, but I also have a dedication to my family. I need to do what is best for my family and that may mean not staying at Chapman. If I find a better job opportunity, I have every intention of applying for that job. However, Chapman of course still gets everything I was hired for, plus the use of my new knowledge and skills until that next job opportunity comes.