It had been 20 years since Yvette Martin enrolled in a college course, but that didn’t stop her from enrolling in an online MBA program.
In fact, Martin applied what she was learning while earning her Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship online at Southeastern Oklahoma State University to help land a new entrepreneurial job that serves the Oklahoma Tax Commission and the Department of Public Safety.
Practice Plan Pays Off
“I was taking Entrepreneurship & New Venture [Management] with Dr. [Martin] Bressler and for one of our projects we had to prepare a business plan,” Martin said. “Although I did my business plan on my existing job at the time, I eventually ended up doing another business plan and submitted it with my application for my current job. During my interview, I was told I was the only one who submitted one, and top management was very impressed with it. They said the business plan answered every question they had before the interview and [they] felt like they already knew my strategic goals before ever meeting me.”
Martin, former executive director for United Way of Southeastern Oklahoma, started her job as an Oklahoma Tax Commission tag agent more than a year before she finished her MBA; she graduated in May 2015. Tag agencies in Oklahoma are operated by individuals, which gives Martin’s role an entrepreneurial slant. As an owner of a tag agency, Martin was quite busy. The online path at SOSU turned out to be the perfect fit for her hectic schedule.
“I decided to go back to school to become more relevant in today’s society,” Martin said. “I had 20-plus years [of] experience in business and a bachelor’s degree in Finance, Real Estate and Law, but given my age and today’s society, a bachelor’s degree is like having a high school diploma, so I knew I needed to up my game. When I decided to go back to school to work on my MBA, I was working a full-time job like most people, so online was the only way for me to achieve my goals with the least amount of time being wasted on the road driving.”
Martin chose SOSU not only for the convenience of the online format and the commuting costs she saved but also for a personal reason: her husband, Dave, is a 2004 alumnus of the university. Not having to take the GRE or GMAT further solidified her choice.
“I had been out school for 19 years at that point,” Martin explained. “Although I knew I was smart, dedicated and had an enormous amount of experience, I also knew it would be challenging for me to pass the GRE since I was out of school for so long. I personally believe that there is more to a person’s character and fortitude than any test can indicate. Obviously, I proved that theory correct!”
Martin said the entrepreneurship, marketing and leadership courses were her favorites.
“These courses piqued my interest, provided valuable information and were fun,” Martin said. “I bet you don’t hear many people talk about how a class was fun.”
All in It Together
Martin said Dave and their two children, Kelly and Ryan, were extremely supportive of her decision to go back to school, and she certainly did not have to go it alone.
“My daughter and son were both in college, so we had three out of four of us in college at the same time,” Martin said. “I would get online to order some of my books and would place one big order for theirs and mine, too.”
Martin, who grew up in California and earned her bachelor’s degree from California State Polytechnic University in 1990, said she would absolutely encourage anybody considering earning a degree online — at any pace.
“Go for it!” she said. “I started my first class in the Fall of 2010. I took two classes, received A’s in both classes and then didn’t sign up for the next semester. I proved to myself that I could hang with these young kids, but for some reason other life events got in the way of continuing. Then in 2013, I started thinking to myself that if I just would have not taken that pause of three years, I would have already been done. So I made a conscious choice to get back in and this time nothing was going to stop me!”
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