"Ashford has a great program, but you have to keep in mind that you get out of it what you put into it."
Chad Roche of Phoenix, Arizona, has a story that will be familiar to many military veterans. He enrolled in college after high school but did not graduate. "At the time I realized that college wasn't for me, so I joined the Navy." During his tenure, Chad attended courses here and there, but never completed a degree.
After separating from the Navy, Chad decided it was time to go back to school. Because he is married with three kids, he opted for online education. He earned an Associate of Arts in Technical Management from an online university, and then went to work for the school as an admissions counselor. "I got very familiar with all of the competitors. I liked what Ashford University was offering and that there was no group work in the online program. I also liked the history of the school, and that it was a small school with a brick-and-mortar campus. Plus, it was more affordable than the rest of them."
In June 2007, Chad graduated from Ashford with his Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management. Earning his Bachelor's degree gave Chad the opportunity to move into the business development department at his company, Ecolab. The next step was to pursue a graduate degree. "To get into a management position at my company, you have to have a Master's degree. I specifically wanted an MBA, mainly because everyone around me had one." Chad returned to Ashford and enrolled in the online Master of Business Administration program, which he completed in November 2009.
While pursuing his MBA, Chad started to get interested in the local Arizona politics. "In 2009, I was approached by several leaders in Pinal County about being the Clerk of the Superior Court (the executive director of the administrative side of the courts). With my MBA and my business background, I thought I would be perfect for the job. I graduated in November and put my name on the ballot in January." In November 2010, Chad was elected as the Pinal County Clerk of the Superior Court. During his four-year term, Chad will manage almost 100 employees and a $6 million budget.
What's next for Chad? He's thinking of another Master's degree, this time in education. "Once I'm able to apply some of the theories I've learned to my work in the courts, I'd like to turn around and teach others how to do it." To those considering Ashford, Chad has words of encouragement, but also of caution. "Ashford has a great program, but you have to keep in mind that you get out of it what you put into it. Anyone can skate by and be a 'C' student, but if you want a top-notch education, and if you are willing to engage with your professors, then you can get that, too."