We’ve been following Brian Tocci in his academic journey with Florida Tech since the beginning. He has shared parts of his story and advice on being successful as an online student along the way. Now, his hard work has come to fruition – he graduated with his MBA in December 2017.
“I’m super excited to be graduating. It’s been a long two years, but it’s gone by so fast.”
As Director of Operations of Larsen Motorsports, Tocci wanted to gain more business knowledge to complement his engineering background. Since he traveled a lot on the job, a 100% online program was the perfect way for him to pursue his degree while being on the road.
“I have to travel almost four months out of the year, so this online degree has really given me the versatility to be able to fly or drive wherever I need to be and submit my assignments, not have to come to a classroom every day. I couldn’t have gotten this MBA without an online degree.”
Tocci had a scholarship to pursue his graduate degree as part of Florida Tech’s affiliation with Larsen Motorsports.
Elaine Larsen, President and CEO of Larsen Motorsports, was at graduation to support Tocci. She said that his MBA has brought him not just business knowledge, but also a new level of confidence.
“When I first met Brian, he was so shy. He was so intimidated to walk into the office. And now? He walks in, and he walks in with confidence. He walks in with a person knowing that he is someone, that he has achieved something, and that’s so important. Not only the growth academically, but the growth personally, I think that’s the best part about him, his confidence, his willingness to learn and do anything, and his willingness to just let it all out. I love that, because that’s going to take him so far in his career.”
Tocci was thankful to Larsen for her support throughout his journey. She and husband Chris allowed him “the flexibility to do school if I’ve really needed it, but they also understand that I work full-time which was hard to balance, so they gave me that flexibility that I needed.”
Tocci’s family, including his father and two brothers, were also there to support him at graduation. His father, Dale, said, “Brian has always been the type of person, once he starts something, he’s gonna finish. Once he makes up his mind, he’s gonna do it. He wanted the engineering degree, and he also wanted the business degree to back it up, so that’s what made him do this. ”
Tocci is planning on using his MBA to continue being a leader at Larsen Motorsports and to grow his own company. As Larsen said, “Brian’s future is so bright. His opportunities are endless, and we are so excited to see the beginning of his journey.”
Our Facebook Live video interview with Tocci at commencement.
We talked to Tocci more about his academic journey.
Why did you go back to school?
I went back to school to get my MBA because I wanted to complement my undergrad degree in engineering and I knew that an MBA would help complement my leadership skills I could use later on in life.
How do you plan to use this MBA?
Now that I have my MBA, I plan to use it to help my leadership skills at Larsen Motorsports and help develop new interns that we train throughout their school career.
How did you use your MBA degree with starting your business?
When I started my MBA at Florida Tech I actually started a business also, called Shock Diamond Designs, and we create aviation-type furniture out of old, scrap, jet engine parts that we can’t use any more and we turn it into art work for your household or business.
My MBA degree really helped with starting Shock Diamond Designs. It taught me how to do a business plan for it, how to find the marketing, how to actually find and hire talent that could help me further my company, and everything as a whole as a business, not just the fabrication side, but actually the business, the taxes, the accounting, all the different leadership stuff and the organizational stuff.
I plan to use my MBA for my furniture business by gaining a better, local relationship with the community and for marketing.
How did your MBA degree benefit your career at Larsen Motorsports?
One thing I’m really proud of at Larsen Motorsports that I learned from my MBA degree is how to implement organizational behavior techniques. We started a reward-based system for our interns. All of our interns are unpaid, but we created a system where they could earn what we call “Nitro Bucks,” basically Larsen Motorsports money, so we can pay them in a way, and they can get benefits, like starting a jet car, learning how to fly or learning how to weld, or different aspects they really would be interested in, so it’s a way we can pay them within our budget.
How has your MBA helped you in your career journey?
My MBA has helped me gain so many different skills I never thought I would have as just an engineer, but now I can complement those skills with personal and social skills, leadership, management, marketing, just every aspect an engineer wouldn’t know but now I can use that as a business side.
I’m the Director of Operations at Larsen Motorsports and that means I have to travel almost four months out of the year, so this online degree has really given me the versatility to be able to fly or drive wherever I need to be and submit my assignments, not have to come to a classroom every day. I couldn’t have gotten this MBA without an online degree.
The biggest thing I appreciated about the online degree was the flexibility. You knew what you had to do that week, but you could do it however you wanted, whenever you wanted throughout that whole week. You could do it at midnight if you had to or you could wake up early at six in the morning – you got to make your schedule.
As someone who lives in Brevard County, I’m really appreciative of Florida Tech being in my backyard. It allows me to meet teachers at their office hours if I need extra help.
What are some of the highlights from your academic journey?
My favorite class by far was my Organizational Behavior class with Dr. Glassman. I learned so much about how the minds of people work and employees, and that was one I could really use within Larsen Motorsports as a leader there.
What advice do you have for other online students?
My biggest piece of advice for online students is to manage your time correctly because you don’t have the teacher to go to class and see every day, you have to know everything and set up your schedule perfectly.
What did you do to be a successful online student?
To be a successful student, I always had a routine for my week. Once I found out what the class required for over that eight weeks I set up a schedule, and every night I’d be working on homework or reading for at least an hour if not more every day and I always stuck to that.
Who would you like to thank for supporting you on this journey?
I want to thank Chris and Elaine Larsen for pushing me to get this degree. They have been really supportive. They’ve allowed me the flexibility to do school if I’ve really needed it, but they also understand that I work full-time which was hard to balance, so they gave me that flexibility that I needed.
I’m really thankful for my dad and my brothers. They all helped me just in being supportive of what I’m doing.
As I look back, I’m so thankful for this graduation day, but looking forward to the future and the next chapter in my life.
Are you a graduate of Florida Tech’s 100% online degree programs? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details.