Students give presentations in Professor Alec Johnson's Foundations of Entrepreneurship class in a "smart classroom" in Schulze Hall 420 in downtown Minneapolis on April 14, 2015.

Looking Back on the MBA Experience

For Evening UST MBA student Dave Turnham the decision to pursue an MBA took strong consideration. With a wife, a small child, and ten years of work experience already on his resume, was an MBA really worth it? Six years, three entrepreneurial ventures, two additional children, one new career, and an MBA later, he can emphatically say, YES. In fact, Turnham’s advice to those on the fence about a UST MBA is now an even more emphatic, “do it!”

In part 1 of this Q&A looking back on his UST MBA experience, Turnham shares insights about his decision to attend the Evening UST MBA Program, surprises, challenges and takeaways along the way.

Why was UST the right school for you?

When I made the decision to go back to school, there were really two main programs I considered: the Part-time MBA program at the Carlson School of Management and the Evening UST MBA. I had several friends and colleagues who were enrolled in both schools and each spoke highly of their respective programs. Knowing that I wanted to make the most of my time back [in school] and both schools had excellent reputations, I attended a few social events for each. It became clear to me that between the two options, UST had a very solid network of students and alumni that were very willing to offer insight and perspective around the program experience, teachers, and classes (which proved to be a very valuable asset of the organization). I did not have the same impression elsewhere and in hindsight I have no doubt in my decision to go to UST.

What surprised you most about your experience in the Evening UST MBA Program?

The amount of resources and energy that the faculty and alumni network invest into the university and its programs. The insight and perspective that the faculty bring to the experience was equally as valuable to me as the degree itself.

What challenged you most in the program?

Taking the first steps to go back. I took a bit longer to make the decision to go back for my continued education. I was a full 10 years into my career at that point and had a wife and young child. That being said, once I took the first step, it was easy to overcome my initial uncertainty. The program was very accommodating to my life outside of school - my wife and I now have 3 kids!

What are your biggest learning takeaways from the program?

I have never been involved with a program that had so many individuals who want to help each other learn and grow. The network that I have developed through this program is as valuable as the coursework and degree itself. It is an awesome element of the program that I think most do not consider when looking into going back to school. The University of St. Thomas does a ton to encourage and support the development of each student’s network, and I cannot stress enough the importance of participating in these efforts!

What advice do you have for prospective students considering a UST MBA?

DO IT! I know that everyone has their own circumstances and influences as to whether or not they will take the first step. I will simply say that I have never known anyone who has regretted pursuing their MBA. Check out a class or meet with a professor, alumnus, or current student if you need more information. On that note, please feel free to look me up on LinkedIn. I will be happy to talk through any questions that you may have as a prospective student.

Check out part 2 of this Q&A on Monday to read about the impact Turnham's MBA experience had on his career.