3 Questions for Myke McCune | Ashford Connections
The 3 Scholars is the story of the friendship between Tanisha, Myke, and Gerri. Ashford’s Master of Arts in Organizational Management program brought them together through a course in HR Management, and their #AshfordConnections continue long past graduation. We’ve gotten updates on where each of the 3 Scholars is now and heard first from Tanisha as she answered questions about her academic journey. Now Myke, currently pursuing his PhD at University of the Rockies, recounts the surprising turn of events that turned a master’s program into a friendship and a reluctance for human resources into a career path.
What Did You Gain from Your Master’s Program?
I have a new circle of friends, from the East Coast to Hawaii, that I keep in contact with. Professionally, the degree has built my confidence in my abilities and knowledge to go after higher-level promotions and positions with new companies that I wouldn’t have pursued previously. I moved a couple steps higher up the corporate ladder since finishing my bachelor’s at Ashford, and another step up with finishing my master’s. I have reached the peak in the company I work for now. I am pursuing new opportunities with different companies now, and hope to reach the upper-levels of management by year’s end.
What Were Your Initial Thoughts of HR Management?
I was not a fan of [human resources] HR, and remember thinking, ‘Just another class I have to put up with to get the degree.’ The first assignment was to read an article called Why We Hate HR, and to agree or disagree with it. I tackled it with enthusiasm. Not only did I agree that HR was hindering business, I found multiple supporting articles to back up my opinion. I figured the instructor, an HR professional, would either ignore my response or defend HR Management, and most likely give me a low grade. Instead the instructor replied, thanked me for my opinion and extra research, and asked about my history with HR Management. During the remainder of the course, the instructor continued to reply not only to most of my posts, but to every student’s posts, asking questions, making suggestions, and encouraging interaction between classmates. Dr. Katie Thiry was the instructor. By the end of the class, I considered her an educator, not just an instructor. She reminded me of my favorite teacher from high school who was the first and, until Dr. Thiry, only teacher to ever challenge me and make me do my best work. After the class ended, Dr. Thiry emailed me and asked if I would be willing to work with her to start a [Society for Human Resource Management] SHRM Chapter at Ashford University. I went from a firm opponent of HR to the SHRM Chapter Student President all because of Dr. Thiry and her passion for both HR Management and teaching.
What Stood Out Most About Your Ashford Experience?
What surprised me most was that I was able to make friends. I am a misanthrope and do not generally make friends. I considered my time at Ashford to be about simply getting an education. When I started my master’s, I met Gerri Wilson. I immediately recognized her as someone who cared about her education and the quality of her work. After several classes together, we started emailing through the classroom and toward the end of each class, we checked to see if we would be in the next class together. We managed to be in every class of our master’s program together, and were communicating through email about more than school assignments. We became friends on social media, then friends in real life. I would often talk to my wife about the quality of Gerri’s classroom posts, and my wife was amazed that I found a friend. Toward the end of our programs, we met Tanisha, and she fit into our group perfectly. She also wrote posts that allowed us to respond significantly, and we started emailing her as well. These friendships were never part of my plan in earning a degree, and not something I was even interested in. Now, the friendships I have developed with these two classmates are just as important to me as the degrees hanging on my wall.
The 3 Scholars have inspired more than just their families in their educational pursuits. They’ve inspired #AshfordConnections, a campaign to send two or more friends to Spring 2018 Commencement in San Diego, CA to finally meet and celebrate graduation together. Learn more about the contest and submit your entry here!
Written by Myke McCune and Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education