For as far back as he can remember Mark Rihar had the inkling in the back of his mind that he wanted a Master of Business Administration (MBA). He knew he had the aptitude and the inclination for it, but what he didn’t have was the undergraduate degree required for admission into an MBA program.
So, when he heard about the online Bachelor of Business Administration Degree at Yorkville University, he said he knew it was the perfect program to bring him one step closer to his goal.
Now, two years later, Rihar has graduated from Yorkville’s BBA and has started his MBA at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Rihar, 42, went to university immediately following high school, but when a close friend passed away it threw him off track. Before he graduated, Rihar left school and worked at odd jobs until he felt ready to return. But, by the time he felt prepared to go back to university he wasn’t in a position to be able to quit working and go to school full time.
“It just wasn’t possible because I had to work,” Rihar explained. “But, I need to do something, so I used all the credits I had to get a robotics and automation diploma really quickly.”
Rihar went onto work at Blackberry as a Manager of Data Analytics until 2013 and then transitioned to a role at Manulife Financial as a Business Intelligence Consultant. But, his goal of getting an MBA always sat in the back of his mind.
“A lot of the schools listed an undergraduate degree as part of the requirement,” Rihar said. “Then one day I was driving to the gym and I heard about Yorkville University on the radio.”
The online BBA program at Yorkville made sense. He could complete it quickly, in two years, while he continued to work, so he enrolled in April of 2013. It was a decision Rihar said he never regretted for one moment.
Despite being online, Rihar said the program was challenging and required a great deal of focus, but he managed to keep on top of things by being organized and making detailed “to-do” lists.
“Every week we had things to do and time management was a huge component,” Rihar said. “I would plan out my entire week, look at what was due and estimate the amount of time each piece needed to get done. After a little while, I got pretty good at it.”
The BBA requires students to participate in online discussion forums, and Rihar said that is where he found an enlightening level of discourse that really added to the value of the program.
“Yorkville’s BBA has a lot of people of various ages and degrees of experience which provides more in those discussions then a standard university,” Rihar said.
As he studied, Rihar said the program at Yorkville exposed him to much of the theory behind some of the work he was already doing in his job.
“What you learn in the program is exactly what happens in business,” Rihar said. “It is uncanny. I would learn something in a course and I could see the usefulness of it immediately, in terms of applying it to work.”
Rihar finished his BBA in exactly two years and wrapped up his Degree at the end of March of this year. About four months before he finished the BBA at Yorkville Rihar started to apply to MBA programs and was accepted into Wilfrid Laurier University MBA program.
The program is a four-year MBA/CPA program at a campus in downtown Toronto. He started the program immediately after he finished the BBA, but did take the time to take a week long vacation between the programs.
“I am proud of myself. I am proud that I had the tenacity to keep on pushing,” Rihar said. “The end game was to get into an MBA and I have done that.”