New year, new start: 4 paths to a more prosperous future


Dr. Carnes at UNA
Dr. Greg Carnes of UNA. Photo via UNA

Now that we’ve entered 2021, who isn’t thinking about a fresh start? If “get a job I love that also pays me well” is on your #2021goals list, you need to know about University of North Alabama (UNA)’s College of Business. With four different online degree programs, UNA’s business school has something for everyone, whether you’re fresh out of high school or looking to play in the major leagues of the biz world. Keep reading to find out more.

The inside scoop on UNA’s business school + their online offerings

Dr. Carnes teaching at UNA
Dr. Carnes teaching at UNA. Photo via UNA

To learn more about UNA’s online offerings, we reached out to Dr. Gregory Carnes, the Dean of UNA’s College of Business. He’s been in higher ed administration since 1999. Carnes came to UNA in 2007 when he was hired as the Raburn Eminent Scholar of Accounting. This endowed chair was funded by Herbert Raburn, a UNA alum and outstanding businessman who lives in Birmingham. Outside of academia, he’s a CPA and does professional training for many accounting firms. 

UNA’s business school has four online offerings

He explained that UNA has four online offerings. Each one is tailor-made to fit with the busy lifestyles of working adults who may also be juggling family responsibilities. 

  1. Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) Flex: If you are a working adult but don’t yet have a college degree, this one’s for you. 
  2. Masters of Accounting (MAcc): If you’re early- to mid-career and looking for an edge in the world of accounting, look no further. 
  3. Master of Business Administration (MBA): This is for early- to mid-career professionals  who want to develop the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. (We’ve talked to people who’ve completed this program and loved it here, here, here and here. We also interviewed a professor on the program in case you want to dive in deep.)  
  4. Executive Doctor of Business Administration (EDBA): Think of this as the major leagues of the business world, where you prepare to be someone who makes change happen at a high level. You’ll come out of this one knowing just the right questions to ask and what data to collect to develop the strategy to move any business or individual forward. (We’ve written about this one here, here, here.) 

To sweeten the deal, anyone who enrolls in the BBA-FLEX, MAcc, or MBA automatically gets a New Start Scholarship. This means you get your first class free. 

Skills + knowledge are the name of the game

people working
Do you know the right questions to ask to move things forward? Photo via Unsplash

“The degree is important, but even more important is having the knowledge and skills to do the job you’re assigned at an excellent level. The more education, the more knowledge and skills you have, and the better prepared you are to be successful  in the labor marketplace.” 

Dr. Carnes

What makes UNA unique

UNA's College of Business
Opening doors to a new future. Photo via UNA

Since he has worked at other universities, I asked Dr. Carnes what makes UNA unique. “The faculty and staff are genuinely interested in the students’ success—not just preparing them for their career, but being  a resource for them when life happens. It’s our number one priority.”

When I asked him why UNA has this whole-person focus, he said part of it has to do with the Shoals area. 

“It’s the friendliest area I’ve lived in in my whole life. It’s a great community. The type of individual attracted to live here is the type of person interested in people, and they’re willing to give their time, energy and financial resources to help out other people. It’s part of the regional culture here (UNA is located in Florence), and is infused throughout the university’s culture.”

Dr. Carnes

The New Start Scholarship is one way UNA has responded to students’ needs since COVID started

Once COVID hit, staff at UNA knew a lot of people would want to further their education, but they were also concerned about their job and their financial stability. 

Dr. Carnes said, “We’ve had excellent, high-quality online programs for many years, so we created this scholarship to make our programs more affordable. In the fall of 2020, our university-wide enrollment in online programs increased by 30%, and the College of Business was about the same. We are partnering with adult learners to help them get started by offering the first course free.”

C. Vance McBrayer, Jr. on what the New Start Scholarship meant to him

C. Vance McBrayer
C. Vance McBrayer with his kids. Photo via C. Vance McBrayer

“I have an undergraduate degree from Huntingdon College in Public Affairs and a JD from Cumberland School of Law. For about 10 years, I practiced law before transitioning to the role as Administration of a private Christian school in my hometown.

I had been on the fence for a while about whether to pursue an MBA. I had researched online programs that could work with my schedule, and I came across the one at UNA. When I found out about the New Start Scholarship, that tipped the scales in favor of finally pulling the trigger and going back to school. 

I am pursuing an MBA in the Executive track because I want to do everything I can to be a better Administrator for my school faculty and staff.”

C. Vance McBrayer

Are you ready to increase your skills, knowledge and career potential in 2021? Check out UNA’s online business offerings today to get started.

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Sharron Swain
Sharron Swain

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

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