Armando Laing has a passion for coaching and developing others. As a financial relationship specialist at a local bank, Laing helps recruit, hire and train new employees in addition to assisting customers with their personal banking needs. Laing is just one of more than 6,000 Maryville University online students, most of whom juggle full-time jobs while pursuing their degrees.
After working a full day, Laing heads home to set up camp in his bedroom-turned office. He will spend several hours studying before finally heading to bed. The next day, he will get up and do it all over again. Laing is pursuing his MBA with a concentration in human resources management in the hopes of securing a higher-level position in an area he is passionate about.
Turning Passion Into Reality
“I thought I wasn’t smart enough for a master’s degree,” Laing said. “When I received my acceptance letter, I was so happy that I started crying. I’m grateful to Maryville for giving me the opportunity to pursue my degree, and for saying ‘you can do it!’”
Laing is able to pursue his education thanks to Maryville’s online programs. The online environment allows him to attend class whenever and wherever he wants. Additionally, Laing appreciates that the program is offered in a convenient, eight-week format. “The structure makes sense to me, and allows me to balance my professional and personal obligations with my education,” he said.
A New Generation of Online Learning
Maryville Online is one of the country’s fastest growing online learning programs now offering 40 undergraduate and graduate programs across academic disciplines with more being developed.
The expansion of Maryville’s online degree portfolio aligns with the University’s student-centered approach, which aims to meet the higher education needs of all adult learners, regardless of location, age or circumstance. Maryville’s online portfolio also aligns with the needs of companies that have emerging careers, but an underprepared workforce. The University partners with industry leaders to build programs that will serve their current and future workforce demands.
“The way the online courses are designed sets me up for success,” Laing said. “I also like interacting with other students and my professors through the online discussion boards. It feels like a community.”
Connections for Success
Another part of Laing’s success is the support he receives from his academic advisor, Erica Hulse. Laing participates in monthly phone calls with Hulse, who answers questions, troubleshoots issues and provides encouragement. She was Laing’s cheerleader while planning out his first-ever Maryville class schedule, and again during a challenging corporate finance class.
“I can always go to Erica when I am struggling with a class or deciding what courses to take next,” Laing said. “She is instrumental in helping me move forward in the coursework, and her support makes it easier for me to succeed in the program.”
For other working adults considering going back to school, Laing shares one piece of advice: “Go for it!” Nearly 46 million adults in the United States aspire to complete a college degree they began years ago, and more than 40 million others could enhance their career prospects, but have never attended a higher-education institution. “If you feel like getting your master’s degree, just do it!” Laing said. “The more you know, the better. I believe knowledge is the key to be able to succeed in life.”
I Can’t Wait to Go ‘Full Force’
After he graduates, Laing plans to move into a human resources-specific role. While he is familiar with the banking world, Laing is also open to exploring opportunities with other mid-sized companies looking to develop their teams. “Maryville has prepared me for my new career, and I can’t wait to go full force into human resources,” Laing said. “I’ve always had a passion for this field, and now I have the skills to be successful.”