Tom Burt is a recent graduate of our Master of Science in Project and Program Management Program. He is currently the Administrative Contracting Officer for GSA/FAS/Supplier Management. Below is his story about his journey through e-learning at Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies.
“I always knew I would have to go back to school. My father presented a perfect example of that—nearing the end of his career, he had been unable to advance any further in his field because he lacked a four-year degree. For my generation, I equate that to not
having a graduate degree. Not wanting to be held back from a promotion, going back to school seemed a necessary evil; however, it was a terrifying thought. Travelling to classes, giving up nights and weekends, simply finding the time to work on assignments—there was no way I would be able to do all that. Then a co-worker told me about Brandeis GPS, and all my fears went away.
Online Learning made it all possible for me. I bought my first home about the same time I started my Program and Project Management degree; due to the nature of the program, I was able to balance the challenges of purchasing a home while keeping up with studies. Also thanks to online learning, I was able to take vacations during semesters! On ski trips to the western US with friends each year, I started every day with a couple hours of school work (and gallons of coffee) before hitting the slopes. I also remember a trip to Italy for a family wedding that coincided with Professional Communication. Had I been enrolled in a traditional classroom-based program, I may not have been able to make the trip; instead, I was posting discussion responses while riding the Rome to Florence train, using the onboard wireless, all while traveling at 250 kilometers per hour! Grazie Brandeis! Finally, in the last couple semesters, I was able to attend classes while training for an Ironman triathlon (as much as twenty hours of training per week) while also managing to not get fired from my job!
Graduate school does not have to be a life-consuming event, nor should it be. There is much to be enjoyed in life, such as home-ownership, vacations, and the pursuit of personal goals. These opportunities absolutely can occur, even while maintaining a career and a family. Not having to sacrifice other opportunities meant everything to me (and also meant the courses flew by in no time!). Brandeis GPS was and is the key to this ever-important balance of life and learning. Having achieved this milestone, I can now start
looking forward in my career, confident that I have the educational qualifications to support my endeavors. ”