MBA Experience and Career Impact

For Evening UST MBA student Dave Turhnam the decision to pursue an MBA took strong consideration. In part 2 of this Q&A looking back on his UST MBA experience, Turnham details the impact his education has had on his career.

How did your UST MBA impact your career?

The Evening MBA program at UST opened my eyes to the world of business that was outside of what I knew to that point. I went into the program hoping that I would evolve within my career. Over the course of time, I actually developed three new businesses as an entrepreneur. I always loved the concept of starting my own business (ideation is one of my top strengths in the Strengths Finder assessment), but had no idea where to begin. The Entrepreneurship faculty were a tremendous resource in helping me develop within this space, to the point that I made the decision to make a change in my career path.

I had an “a-ha” moment after taking the New Business Ventures class with Professor Alec Johnson. As a part of the class, Professor Johnson encouraged all of his students to enroll in the Fowler Business Concept Challenge that occurs every fall semester. I entered two unique business ideas (both of which I have since developed further), however did not make it to the semi-finals. Through this class and experience, it became very clear to me that I had an “itch to scratch” and needed to explore the concept of starting my own endeavor.

This past November I made the decision to try again to compete in the Fowler competition. In the months prior, I had been developing a concept of a theft deterrent for individuals to use to prevent their valuables from being stolen when stored in a locker (at school, a fitness club, etc.). Together with my co-collaborator, a teacher who dealt with theft of cell phones and personal belongings weekly, we developed a concept for a safe that would adjust to various-sized lockers and could only be removed the owner. We submitted for a patent on the design but needed to further build out the business case for investor consideration. I developed the business case for this “Adjustable Locker Safe” and submitted it for consideration in the challenge. The experience of presenting my own business case was easily a top highlight of my MBA and professional career. It was an honor to have the opportunity to build out this concept and present it to the alumni supporters and judges, and I cannot wait to take the project to the next level!

Fast forward to February of this year - two weeks following completion of my final class, I was starting a brand new career path as the vice president of sales for Griffin International. I am now an entrepreneur for an organization that is focused on developing new ideas and working with start-up companies - a career path that I didn’t even have on my radar before my MBA coursework!

Read part 1 of the Q&A.