My education made a huge difference, and it opened doors that would have been shut.
Sometimes, circumstances have a way of telling people it’s time to act. For Michael Collier, that moment of clarity occurred during the height of the Great Recession.
“When I decided to go back to school, it was mid-2009,” Michael explains. “I watched 50% of the staff at the company I worked for get laid off. And then, I started watching who was getting hired and who wasn’t, and it seemed that the people who had degrees were getting picked up by other companies faster.”
Michael saw the writing on the wall and realized it was time to head back to school and earn a bachelor’s degree. The father of four wasn’t sure how he’d be able to fit college into his busy life, but once again, external circumstances aligned to show Michael the path forward.
“We had a health and benefits fair at our company, and Ashford was one of the exhibitors,” Michael remembers. “I was just struck by ‘Wow, there’s an online program that can work around my schedule.’”
Having found a school that would work for him, Michael took the leap and enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems program at Ashford University. It turned out that Michael was a natural fit for the online modality. He found time to do homework during his commutes to work and at his sons’ sporting events.
“With technology the way it is, I was able to tether my phone to my laptop and I would be at baseball games doing my discussion board questions, which made a huge impact because I could get stuff done and it didn’t matter where I was,” Michael explains. “I wasn’t tied to a classroom and sitting there with people that maybe slowed the classroom down for me.”
Michael graduated from Ashford University in 2014, and his new degree began paying dividends immediately.
“A month and a half before graduation, I got a LinkedIn message from a former colleague who told me about a job that would be perfect for me,” he says. “I looked into it and the job happened to require a bachelor’s degree. You have to have a degree to work there. Since I was in my last class, they were willing to bring me on. I had left that company in 2010 and when I came back, my salary doubled. My education made a huge difference, and it opened doors that would have been shut.”
Michael continues to open doors. He recently enrolled in the Master of Business Administration degree program at Ashford.
“I wrote my ticket and made it happen,” Michael says. “Don’t let stuff hold you back. You have to move forward.”