Online MBA Meets Professionals Where They Live

Jesse McGowan '18G says an MBA complements his engineering degree, helping him embrace complexity

Jesse McGowan '18G earned his B.S. in mechanical engineering at UNH in 2002. He chose Paul College's online MBA program because it allowed him to continue working and, at the same time, learn the business skills needed to better manage his staff and his organization. It far exceeded his expectations.

Q. Why did you choose to get an MBA?

I entered the UNH Online MBA program 3 years ago, not to attain a new position, but instead to acquire knowledge and skills to perform better in my current position. I graduated from UNH with a B.S. in mechanical engineering in 2002. Since then, I have worked at a Mikros Manufacturing in Claremont, NH in the design and manufacture of cooling systems for high heat-flux electronics. I began there as one of 24 employees, working as an R&D engineer. Over the last 15 years, the company has doubled in size. My responsibilities have grown to the point where I am now the General Manager, overseeing every facet of the company’s functioning. I had a postion that required some greater business skills so I enrolled in the MBA program.

Q. Why the online MBA program at UNH?

UNH was an obvious choice for me. I wanted to stay in the state, it’s a place that really feels like home, and I had a great experience here as an undergrad. I was looking for an online program so that I could keep working. It was important to choose a place that I trusted and, if I wanted to, I could visit in person. One thing that stuck me about the MBA program is it that it offers some very broad foundational theory as well as some specific actionable advice how on to apply the theory.

Q. What distinguishes the online MBA program?

I didn’t know what to expect rolling into the online program, but it far exceeded my expectations. I really enjoyed that the classes include a big component of discussion so that students are all reflecting on their takeaways and their learnings. It’s a much deeper participation than I ever experienced in any in-person setting. I loved the lively discussions, and I think some of the best were when students would talk about not just what they learned, but how it was applied in their jobs, and when the professors would also chime in with their interpretation. It made a really rich learning environment.

Q. What were some of the new skills you learned?

There were really two big takeaways for me. With an engineering background I really enjoyed quantitative analysis. It let me understand the ways it can be applied to a lot of business problems. The other side is that I tend to like to break problems down into their simplest form, and I learned how important it is to embrace complexity a little more and look at interactions and not to make decisions in silos.

Q. What was a memorable moment for you?

I did the MBA program online over the course of three years. Taking one class at a time let me take time to reflect and apply what I was learning. It started right from the first class, which was organizational behavior. I was working as a manager and and I had to write an essay about motivating another person. I took a real case where I really was struggling and I wrote about that. I immediately saw an improvement in the interaction I was having with that person, as well as their performance.

Q. What would you tell people consider UNH's online MBA program?

I didn’t start my career with the goal to enter management. In fact, I so deeply enjoy the technical work of engineering that it might have never crossed my mind. During my bachelor’s in engineering, I couldn’t understand what held the interest of my friends who studied business. Even now, I don’t think I would have enjoyed the topic nearly as much without the experience of working in management concurrently with my studies. However, the value of this field is clear to me now, having been able to put it to use daily and see the results. The online program is really great because it lets you continue to work full-time while you study.