Speaking with Wade Phipps, it’s immediately clear what his core values are: family, faith and music.
So, it’s fitting that Phipps’ father inspired him to pursue business as a career.
“Business has always been important to me. Growing up, I saw a lot of entrepreneurs and people involved in my father’ business. My father is a gospel singer and a preacher, so when he would travel, I was able to meet a lot of business people. I always knew that business would be a big part of my life and something that I’d like to pursue as well.”
A Florida native, Phipps started his Florida Tech MBA on campus. However, he wanted to be able to join his father in his travels, so Phipps decided to switch to earning his degree online.
We spoke with Phipps on transitioning from online to on-campus, how he applied what he learned in his MBA program and his future plans.
Q. How has your MBA affected your career?
While I was pursuing my MBA, I worked at Advent Health. I believe learning more about business administration and taking courses on organizational behavior and the workplace, while being part of a large organization, was very beneficial. I was the department secretary, so I was working closely with directors, managers and VPs of the Advent Health organization. I was able to see firsthand exactly what I was studying while taking courses from Florida Tech.
Being able to work and take classes was something that I thought was very important. I don’t have any student loans, thank God. Being able to work, which helped pay for my classes, was crucial.
Currently, I am seeking opportunities in DC and other locations. I think that my MBA, combined with my undergraduate background in pre-law and political science, should position me for careers in that path.
Q. Did anything surprise you about being in an online program?
The great thing about it was I actually started on-campus at Florida Tech. I am from the area. I moved from Maryland to Florida in 2001. I went to Covenant Christian School in Palm Bay and grew up in Vero Beach. When I finished college, I moved back home and wanted to start my MBA at Florida Tech.
However, my father is an evangelist who traveled to many countries, and I wasn’t able to travel with him as much because of the on-campus stipulations and test-taking. So, being able to go online and take classes in other parts of the country and around the world was incredible.
After transferring online, I was shocked to see how connected the students and the instructors were, and how they were available at any time of the day or night, to see your questions and to help you pursue your degree. They wanted you to succeed. It was amazing that Florida Tech provided that for students, and it was very crucial to me being able to finish my degree.
Q. Did you have a favorite class?
Organizational Behavior was my favorite class because it showed me how to navigate the business world, specifically working with employees and making sure they have what they need to be successful. That ultimately helps you as a leader and as an administrator become the best that you can be by providing that and being that support for them. I was able to see firsthand how some of the things that I was learning about, such as how to best take care of your employees, could be applied in my job.
Q. What advice would you give to a student considering the MBA program?
I would tell them to stay focused, and if they run into any speed bumps, don’t give up. I took a break from Florida Tech to go to law school. That was one of my dreams as well. I wanted a JD/MBA. So when I had the opportunity to go to law school, I took a break from Florida Tech for about a year and a half. I think there’s a two-year gap in which you can still have the classes that you’ve taken, and I just made it in within that two-year gap to get back into Florida Tech.
So whatever your dreams are, if you drop it or if you’re not as successful as you thought you would be, don’t give up, keep going, because it’ll ultimately be worth it at the end of the day. It’s worth all the hours and all the time that you’ve spent to get to that point.
If you want to do something outside of Florida Tech, come back. That’s my advice. Stay true to who you are but also stay true to the school. It’s a school that is multicultural and its benefits are seen worldwide, from the type of students that I’ve met as on-campus and online.
Florida Tech is a wonderful school, and if you utilize all the people and resources that are available to you, the things that you can do are limitless.
Q. Who was your support system?
I would say the biggest support was the Dean of Admissions. I bugged her a lot going on-campus to online, then going to law school and coming back. With all the transfer credits and grades that had to go back and forth, she was a great support. She was a wonderful person, and I appreciated her leadership, kindness and understanding throughout the process of going to Florida Tech. She was a very influential person, along with all my professors who helped me through each class.
Q. What was the most challenging part of your experience?
The most challenging part is that while online school gives you that flexibility, you can still fall behind, forget things and not be on top of everything. So, staying focused can be difficult.
Also, being able to balance your workload can be difficult at first. Sometimes, if I had something big on my plate at work, I’d only take one class instead of doubling up on classes. It can be hard to know your workload and be aware of the type of situation that’s comfortable for you so that you’re not overexerting yourself because you’re taking on too much.
However, it really isn’t that tough when you have people in your corner helping you out and suggesting courses that will help you finish. The representatives at Bisk that called to check on you and see how you’re doing in your class, making sure you’re on top of everything, were wonderful. That helps with the toughest part, which is knowing your workload.
Q. What is one fun fact about you?
I sing in church, I’m a praise team leader and I love music. I am striving to be a spiritual person, so singing in church and being around people who love God, spreading that word and being positive, that’s helped me finish school, and it’s also helped other people come closer in their spiritual journey. I’m blessed that I have the opportunity to sing on a weekly basis.
Have you completed one of Florida Tech’s online programs? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional details.