His address is in San Diego. His heart is in Baton Rouge.
And now Scott McCarty is four courses away from wrapping up his Master of Business Administration online at LSU, a real dream come true for a boy from “Red Stick.” He is on schedule to graduate in 2017.
“At the time that I started the process – actually it was last year; it seems like it was forever — I was in France on a business trip,” McCarty said. “I was doing a lot of my admissions paperwork while I was in France. I thought, ‘This fits because this is how I do work. This is how I want to study.’ And LSU has been a lifelong goal — to get a degree from LSU.”
Moving On Up
After going directly from Tara High School into the Navy for a decade, McCarty finished his Bachelor of Business Administration degree at National University in San Diego.
He spent his Navy years (1986-1996) working on submarines before eventually joining Retail Inkjet Solutions, a startup company in Carlsbad, Calif., eight years ago.
“I knew I wanted to go back for my MBA sometime when it made the most sense, but I was in a technical field,” McCarty said. “When I got promoted about four years ago into management, actually the promotion, since I was in management, [was] to senior manager. That’s when I decided to follow up on getting my MBA.”
He initially looked into schools near his home in San Diego without even really focusing on online programs. But when he discovered that LSU had an online MBA program, he knew it was time to “geaux” home.
“I’m a Tiger fan,” McCarty said. “I grew up a Tiger. I ushered LSU football games as a Boy Scout — it’s part of my blood. When I saw LSU did it and I was eligible for it, for me, it was almost a foregone conclusion.”
Striking a Balance
McCarty said his friends and family were all very excited to see him get into the distinguished LSU Flores MBA program two decades after he finished his bachelor’s degree.
“Trying to work and go to school at the same time was the biggest question,” McCarty said, “but the online format really fit that because it goes around my schedule; it’s asynchronous, so I can do it when I want to.”
One of the most interesting and unexpected aspects of earning his degree for McCarty has been the friendships he has developed with his fellow LSU online students.
“Three of the four I continually talk to and work with are in Houston,” McCarty said. “There’s a core group of us, and we have done case studies together. We’ve finished classes together. Any time we’re in the area â€¦ like I was supposed to be in South Louisiana this week for work but it got canceled. I was going to meet with them. We talked about meeting for lunch and stuff. That’s the thing, you don’t get together as much as you would in the classroom but we’re just as tight.”
Keeping Up Through Coursework
When McCarty initially started his MBA online, his first course, Managerial Statistics (BADM 7020), ended up being critical to his future success with the program.
“Not being in school for 20 years, I wasn’t sure how I would do online with the master’s level,” he said. “When I tackled Statistics, it was one of the toughest courses they teach and one of the toughest ones I’ve taken. It actually proved to me I could do it. I finished with an A and was in the running for the top of the class at the time. It was good proof to me. Although math is not my strong point, Statistics was actually a good foundation for the rest because it hits on almost every other class you go into, so that was a really good class to start with.”
McCarty also said he thoroughly enjoyed Legal Environment of Business (BADM 7140) because of the quality of teaching and the large amount of reading, which he likes. And he was able to immediately apply the knowledge he was acquiring to his career.
“A lot of times stuff gets real theoretical, but I tell you what, it’s fed right into my job here and helped me gain some speed,” McCarty said. “I’m one of the members of the executive team, so I remember sitting through meetings where we’re talking about financials and inventory and things I didn’t really have a grip on because I didn’t have the training.
“After taking Accounting and Operations and Finance, I was actually bringing things up that these guys had forgotten. It was awesome. It was perfect. I was applying stuff as I was learning it in team meetings.”
One of the final four courses for McCarty’s online MBA will be Understanding International Management Challenges (BADM 7170), an elective that includes a trip to China in April 2017. He said that the 10-day journey will help him gain more valuable insight into international business and Asian culture, which fascinates him.
The Right Approach
McCarty said there are a few things to keep in mind when considering earning an online degree.
“Plan,” he said. “Plan well. Time management is really important — especially if you’re working. I think the thing that’s helped me I’ve found is to just stick to the schedule, stick to your plan. Plan out what you’re going to do, because you’ve got other things to do — especially as working adults [with] family and friends and everything that’s going on.
“Really take time to set aside to do your studies. And you have to trade off. Sometimes you don’t get to do the things you want to do because you have to study. But there’s a payoff at the end. It’s worth it.”
And McCarty is very much looking forward to walking in his graduation ceremony and reveling in the ultimate reward for his hard work.
“Since I’m from there, I’ve still got friends that live there so it will be fun,” he said.
As a soon-to-be graduate of the LSU Flores MBA program, McCarty’s connections in the classroom, abroad, in the Baton Rouge area, and among the vast alumni will continue to flourish, opening plenty of opportunities for his career.
Learn more about the LSU online MBA program.
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