McKinney found perfect fit with MS in Leadership program

Mark McKinney graduated from the MS in Leadership program in May 2013. We asked him to reflect on his experiences leading up to and throughout the program.

Growing up in Seymour, Ind., my goals after graduating high school in 1982 were to get a degree, get a good job, and get married, in that order. In 1984, I graduated with an associate of science degree in electronics technology from Vincennes University in Indiana. Shortly after graduating, I began working for Motorola in Chicago. In 1985, I got married. Everything had worked as planned, even to the point of moving my family back to southern Indiana so I could work for Jackson County REMC as a metering technician.

As I continued my career, I could see that I needed to go back to school in order to be in a position for future opportunities within the company. In the fall of 2007, I started the organizational leadership and supervision bachelor of science program at Purdue’s College of Technology in Columbus, Ind. After four and a half years of night classes, usually two or three nights per week, I graduated with distinction.

After graduating, I wanted to continue with my education and earn a master’s degree. I also knew that if I did not start a graduate program soon, I would probably not start one at all. My biggest concerns were the time commitment to complete a graduate program and the lack of time availability for my family and job.

There are several options available to earn a master’s degree; however, since I live in southern Indiana, obtaining a master’s degree from a university such as Purdue is limited.
As a working adult, I wanted to earn a master’s degree from a university that is recognized around the world, without sacrificing my family time and the requirements of my fulltime job. Some of the programs I considered either required attending class two nights per week or were 100 percent online.

The ProSTAR program on the other hand provided a hybrid program that included the instructor-led classroom setting along with an online component. I chose the Purdue ProSTAR Leadership and Innovation program not only because of Purdue’s reputation, but also because I felt the three weekends on campus per semester would allow me to attend classes without taking so much time away from my family and my job.

After graduating in May of 2013 with a master of science degree focused on leadership and innovation, I can now reflect on a few of the things that I gained from the program:

  • I earned a master of science degree from a university that is recognized around the world.
  • I gained a close network of professionals from within my cohort group of students and of professors who taught us throughout the program.
  • I gained knowledge from the program that I have been able to apply in my current position.
  • I gained what I feel is a requirement to position me for future opportunities as they develop.

ProSTAR’s Leadership and Innovation program fit my work life requirements. I do not want to sound as if the program did not require a significant time investment, because it did. However, with the support of my wife and three kids, we made it work. I will conclude with a quote that I feel is appropriate in my decision to continue my education and earn a master’s degree: “The best thing you can do is the right thing; the next best thing you can do is the wrong thing; the worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt


JoDell Steuver's picture

Mark, what a nice article.  Congratulations on completing your master's degree.  You have much in the way of leadership to share with your community and employer.