Wondering why you should do a Montevallo MBA? Online classes are only one reason.


Liucija Smaizyte Wright, University of Montevallo Stephens College of Business
Liucija Smaizyte Wright at her graduation from The University of Montevallo in 2015. Photo supplied

“I believe it’s always good to have a graduate degree, especially when you don’t know where life may take you,” according to Liucija Smaizyte Wright, a current Montevallo MBA student. Keep reading to find out more about her experience and that of Doug Ford, a current student in the program. If you’re ready to make an impact in the business world, apply for a Montevallo MBA now.

An MBA program that gives the highest value in the region

Students at Montavallo's Stephens College of Business
Back before social distancing, this was a common sight: groups of students gathering at the Stephens College of Business at The University of Montevallo. Photo via Katie Compton

With a hybrid program that you can do entirely online, entirely in-person (during normal times), or your own unique combo of the two, the MBA program at Montevallo’s Stephens College of Business is one of the best local programs to jump-start your career. Whether you’re a mid-career professional or fresh out of undergrad, this program sets its students up for success. 

Here are just a few of the unique features of Montevallo’s MBA program: 

  • Graduate tuition—for the entire program—is approximately $13,000. Add books and fees for a grand total of $15,000.
  • An MBA adds around $1m in additional earnings through the life of the average college grad. If you work for 40 years, that’s another $25,000 per year on top of what you might have earned otherwise. 
  • With an average class size of 21 students, you won’t get lost in the shuffle.
  • The Grainger Center for Professional Practice helps set students up for success.

I recently talked with two current Montevallo MBA students to learn more about what led them to the program, how they’re juggling work, school and life and how the program’s preparing them for what comes next in their careers and lives.

Doug Ford

Doug Ford, University of Montevallo Stephens College of Business
Doug Ford is a current MBA student at the University of Montevallo’s Stephens College of Business. Photo supplied

Montevallo’s MBA program attracts mid-career professionals as well as recent undergrads and everyone in between. Doug Ford has been a sales rep for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical company for 18 years. He lives 10 minutes from the Pelham campus, where Montevallo’s in-person MBA classes take place, and he’s in his second semester of the program.

Liucija Smaizyte Wright

Liucija Smaizyte Wright
Liucija Smaizyte Wright is a current MBA student at the University of Montevallo’s Stephens College of Business. Photo supplied

Liucija is originally from Lithuania. She came to the United States in 2011 on a full tennis scholarship. After two years at the University of Texas at Arlington, she transferred to the University of Montevallo. During her junior year, she did an internship with Morgan Stanley, where she started working full-time after graduation. Her undergrad degree is in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance and a double minor in MIS and Pre-Law.

Bham Now Q + A

Darter Festival
Liucija found time to get involved with a number of local nonprofits while working a demanding full-time job and pursuing her MBA.

Bham Now: What made you decide to do an MBA? And why Montevallo?

Doug: The job market in my profession has changed, and most companies now prefer an MBA. Montevallo’s hybrid program means that when I have to travel for work or can’t be there for some other reason, I can do the program online.

Liucija: I always wanted to get a master’s degree, and an MBA seemed like a natural fit considering the industry that I’m currently working in. One reason I chose Montevallo was because of its flexibility. Students have up to six years to finish the MBA program or they can finish in one year if they study full-time. I was planning to take the program part-time and online because of the demanding job that I have. It was also important for me to have the flexibility to finish or take a break in between semesters. In case, I wouldn’t have the time to study due to the workload of my job.

I like having only 20 students in class vs. 100 and being able to get to know my professors and classmates better than if I decided to go to a larger university. 

If doing an MBA at Montevallo sounds like a good plan for you, apply online now.

Bham Now: What, if anything, were you nervous about before you started the program? 

Doug: Fear of the unknown, wondering what all had changed (for example, with technology) since I was last in a university classroom. I wondered if I was going to be able to handle it with a full-time job and other responsibilities. Also, would I enjoy it and would the classes be really difficult?

Liucija: I wasn’t very nervous, because it’s something I really wanted to accomplish, and I had already spent two and a half years at Montevallo earning my undergraduate. The only thing I was nervous about was being able to manage a full-time job and classroom work. I figured that it wouldn’t get any easier later in life, and it’s better to do it now, while I do not have any children.

Bham Now: How did Montevallo help you with the transition?

Doug: Gary Johnson, who runs Montevallo’s MBA program, is available to help via email or phone. Classmates and professors are also more than willing to help. Everybody’s working for the same goal—the Professors want you to finish your MBA and the students want to finish theirs. 

Liucija: Stephens College of Business was very helpful. Before I started I was able to discuss my class schedule and workload to make sure I’d be able to manage it. 

Bham Now: Tell us about your work and how you balance that with the program. 

Doug: Doing the program with a full-time job is challenging, but so far I haven’t had to miss a class. My classes are at night between 6-8:30PM after work is done, and I’ve only had to do a couple of classes online. What’s nice is that I can pace myself and finish in a year or longer—it’s up to each individual student how quickly or intensively they do the program.

I have a full-time job at Morgan Stanley and recently passed my CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, designation. I had to take one semester off to study for the CFP® but came back to continue MBA studies the very next semester. I am also involved with several non-profits. I serve on the United Nations Greater Birmingham Chapter, Alabama Women in Business, GirlSpring and the Southern Environmental Center. I also help coach children at Lifetime Fitness when I have spare time.

Bham Now: What types of new career possibilities has the program helped you see?

Doug: In my current industry, an MBA can help me get into management and other promotions within the company if desired. Plus, the things I am learning are already helping me with projects in my current position.  

Also, I’m learning new skills that could come into play for a different profession if needed or to start a small business.  I’m not planning on either of those two things, but knowing I will be better prepared for any unexpected changes is a driving factor for me wanting to get an MBA.

I believe it is a smart investment to get your graduate degree, especially when you don’t know where life may take you. It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan. I also believe that the MBA program has helped me to become more knowledgeable and confident in my career.

Bham Now: Anything else you think would be useful for people to know about the program?

Doug: Participating in the program is challenging but also fun. I’m learning a lot while also making some new friends.  The Professors want you to learn and do well in the program and it shows.

Liucija: The University of Montevallo is very unique. The professors truly care about their students and try their best to help them succeed. They are your mentors! Months after graduating, I had professors messaging me on LinkedIn asking how I was doing and wanting to know about my career endeavors. The connections that you make at the University of Montevallo will last a lifetime.

Tip: I would also check with your workplace, as they might cover some of your tuition fees.

Want to learn more about Montevallo’s Stephens College of Business MBA Program?

If Montevallo’s MBA program sounds like a good fit for you and your career goals, hop online and apply today

Now tell us, Birmingham, are you thinking of going back to school to get your MBA? Tag us on social @BhamNow and let us know.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference

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