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Student Spotlight: Alan Wright

Born in South Africa, raised in Australia, and now living in Dallas, Texas, Alan Wright has covered a lot of ground so far in his life. He’s currently enrolled in ACU Online’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program with a projected graduation date of April 2020.

Alan’s business analytics concentration is the perfect complement to his career as a management consultant for Alvarez and Marsal. He earned his BBA with majors in human resources and marketing at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. A year before graduating, a 10-day mission trip to Brazil changed the trajectory of Alan’s life.

The Brisbane-Brazil-Abilene connection

While working with churches in Brazil, Alan met his now-wife, Christine. She was employed as a nurse at Abilene’s Hendrick Medical Center. Alan recounts, “One of the doctors that she worked with sent someone on one of these trips every year, and so he just happened to send her that year.”

The couple stayed in contact for about a year, and then Alan decided he wanted to move to the United States to pursue their relationship. He didn’t have work lined up, “so I got an internship at a company just north of Chicago through a connection of my parents, and then I ended up staying on full-time, and they sponsored my visa.”

Alan and Christine married soon after and found themselves freezing and miserable in Chicago. Christine, born and raised in central West Texas, was missing her family terribly. The couple moved to Texas and “pretty much lived across the road from the ACU campus.”

Choosing ACU Online to earn his MBA

Alan had always wanted to return to school for his MBA. He did a bit of shopping around, looking at other programs in the Dallas area. While he would have preferred an in-person program, Alan says, “It’s pretty hard to look at the price tag of some of those programs, considering what I do and where my career was headed.” Alan weighed “how much value I thought I would get out of the ACU online program versus a Dallas-based working professional program. I didn’t feel like I would get $60,000-worth of more value out of it than I would get out of ACU.”

Alan knew a bit about ACU and had friends going through the MBA program who spoke positively of their experiences. “I think once I had the information on ACU and the business analytics track that aligned with where I wanted to concentrate, it was a pretty easy decision.”

When asked about the complications of earning an undergraduate degree in Australia and transitioning to a U.S.-based graduate program, Alan shares, “The ACU admissions staff was really great. I felt really supported by them throughout the admissions process. That was actually a lot easier than I thought it was going to be.”

Reflecting upon the Christian component of ACU, Alan recalls, “I didn’t really think about it too much before going into the program, but I’m really grateful for it now because it gives me a little bit of a different perspective on things. It definitely helps guide some of the decisions I make when I’m, say, at a client’s location implementing systems … I won’t say from the outset it was a pivotal difference for me, but I am really glad that I am in the program at a Christian school.”

What does the future hold for Alan Wright?

On earning his MBA, Alan says, “I wasn’t sure that I would see an immediate return on investment. I didn’t see it as like, ‘Well, I’ll get my MBA and then I’ll get that big-time job that I’ve always wanted.’ I think I always felt like that, but now I want to get it, so I have it. To continue to progress through my career and then at some point when I’m applying for those high-level roles — VP, C-suite jobs, whatever — it ticks the box in the sense of, ‘Okay, you’ve got that. You’ve done the work.’ I think it was more about the long game for me.”

Alan also hopes that his MBA will help him get access to “more exciting projects, things that I want to be involved with” in his management consulting career. He plans to continue on the track that he’s currently on, spending what little free time he does enjoy with Christine and their dogs, Ramona and Rudy.

In closing, Alan shares some encouragement for prospective MBA students who might be reading this blog: “Don’t be put off by the fact that ACU is a small school relative to some others in the state. There’s actually a lot of upside from the learning-experience point of view that you get from going to a small Christian school … I would say definitely from a learning perspective, I’ve been really pleased with that.”

For working adults like Alan who want to return to school “but don’t want a six-figure price tag, I think a school like ACU is a really great place to learn.”

Alan found a program and a path for his future through an ACU Online graduate degree program. If you’re looking for the next step to career success and know that an education via an MBA (or some other graduate degree program) is what you need, we can help. Learn more about what ACU Online’s Master of Business Administration program can do for your future.

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