Graduation Journey: The Stevens

Andrews Air Force Base students Lisa and Robert Stevens made a commitment to each other and also to finishing their MBA degrees together. Mr. & Mrs. Stevens are graduating this May, and not only are they the first to earn their master’s degrees in their families, but they accomplished it by attending six of Webster’s extended campuses in two years! 

“My name is Lisa Stevens and I grew up in northern Maine. I have lived in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, New York, Maryland, and Utah due to military connections. My husband’s name is Robert Stevens. He was born in Arkansas but grew up in Utah. He has also lived in the Philippines because his parents were military.

We are completing our MBA program together this spring. I originally wasn’t going to get my master’s, but Rob talked me into working on it together. His undergrad is in engineering and mine is in accounting, so we were able to help each other in just about every class. He helped me with statistics and economics and I helped him with the accounting classes and providing correct sentence structure in paper writing.

If we were to talk to potential students about degree programs and online learning, we would recommend they get a bachelor’s in the profession they want and then get a master’s in business education. An MBA is extremely useful because all businesses need managers. Our advice on online classes is mixed. We have found that online classes require more work than attending in-person. There is also a certain amount of self-instruction that is sometimes difficult if you don’t have a good grasp of the subject. Our preference was learning in the classroom because our professors were all great and we enjoyed the class interaction. We have really enjoyed getting our MBAs at Webster University.

Our time at Webster University has been an unusual experience. We discovered that this school really cares about its students and has many locations for any student. In fact, we got our degree at six different campuses across the country. We started at the Hill AFB campus in Utah. We moved to North Carolina where we went to the Camp Lejeune and New River campuses. In the Fall 1 and 2 semesters of 2017, we drove three hours to the Myrtle Beach campus for weekend classes. In 2018, we moved to the D.C. Metro area, where we attended the Joint Base Andrews and Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling campuses. The Webster staff was so helpful in coordinating our moves and making sure we got into the classes we wanted.

WorldClassRoom is very easy to use, and we found it helpful for getting all the information we needed. Plus, students can access it on a computer, a tablet, or a phone with the WorldClassRoom app.

The one instructor that stood out more than the others was Dr. Joan Bold at the Camp Lejeune campus. She is a born teacher who deeply cares about her students. Her classes were filled with discussion from all of us and it never felt like the typical boring classroom environment. We learned so much from her because she brought real-life experiences into her discussions and we were able to debate in an adult, non-judgmental fashion. Her ability to facilitate our discussions helped us all to gain perspective on one another’s points of view. She deserves to be recognized as our favorite!

Our advice for instructors would be to teach less from PowerPoint and more from class participation. Death by PowerPoint is a sure way to lose your audience! Since Webster offers classes in nine-week terms, we would advise teachers to not require a student to complete an entire business model or

marketing plan in that amount of time. There is no value gained, and it only makes the student rush to complete it because of time constraints.

Rob and I are each the first people in our families to earn our bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Since we started school, we have inspired other family members and friends to get their degrees, too. It felt good to accomplish this for ourselves, but it felt even better to be a great role model for others.

Rob and I worked on many assignments together. We were always on the same team, so it made it easy to complete assignments. We had absolutely no obstacles in our studies as a couple. We have both benefited more together than if we would have done it alone.”