Stephen Wade saw the opportunity to adapt and thrive in a changing industry, and he seized it.
The news business has undergone a drastic transformation in the past decade and, as a journalist, Wade needed to evolve with it. Two decades after earning his undergrad degree in journalism, Wade saw attaining an MBA in Accounting as a way to acquire the business knowledge and credentials he needed to be competitive in the market.
“My goal was to advance my career,” said Wade, who started in journalism as a photographer and sports picture editor and since then has held roles such as director of operations, editor and regional publisher.
Frequent work-related travel meant he needed an education he “could move around with.” (As it turned out, he would begin his graduate studies while living in Kansas and complete them after moving to South Carolina via a 20-month stopover in Missouri. Since then, he’s relocated again, this time to Georgia.)
Wade said he evaluated several other highly ranked degree programs before choosing the Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Accounting offered 100% online by Florida Tech.
“I wanted something that was going to be respected and that’s why I did my homework,” he said.
Life in the news business could make a skeptic even of a Pollyanna. So, it’s perhaps little surprise that a veteran journalist like Wade had some initial qualms about the rigors of an online education. But, having now experienced on-campus and online classes, he has shed those doubts.
“The online side’s harder because you have to be more dedicated,” he said.
Wade said he received excellent support during his time at Florida Tech, with student advisors always ready and willing to answer his questions. He also enjoyed interacting and learning from other students from “all walks of life,” whether stay-at-home moms or active-duty military.
In earning his MBA, Wade wanted to set an example for his children, who were also pursuing higher education at the time. The family was able to lend encouragement to each other.
In July 2015, about seven months after graduating, Wade was named vice president of audience at The Augusta Chronicle, a Georgia daily newspaper that published its first edition less than a decade after the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.
When it comes to the pursuit of a graduate degree, Wade said it’s essential to first understand your motivation. The prospect of a big salary alone may not be enough to carry you through the demanding regimen of an MBA program.
“I think a person has to want to do it for themselves,” he said as he prepared to receive his diploma on the Florida Tech campus in Melbourne. “I think a person has to want to better themselves.”
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