For Alyssa Bowker (MBA ‘19) and her husband Kyle (MBA ‘20), the Wake Forest MBA program in Charlotte delivered a tremendous ROI. Both credit the Wake Forest MBA experience for opening a world of opportunity – accelerating their career trajectories, jumpstarting their company and providing a wealth of connections and real-world expertise.
The couple opted for the In-Person MBA Program located in Uptown Charlotte. This format provided the full Wake Forest MBA experience, but with only a short commute and little disruption to their typical lives.
“It didn’t make sense for us to quit our jobs. We wanted to maintain our lifestyle. And by doing an evening program, it allowed us to keep our weekends together,” Alyssa explains.
“The opportunity cost of leaving our jobs and trying to do a full-time program somewhere was way too high,” Kyle adds.
Working full-time while participating in the Wake Forest MBA program part-time, on the other hand, allowed the couple to speed ahead in their careers.
For Alyssa, that involved a promotion during the MBA program and another one since – making her one of the youngest people in her department at Ally Financial, where she serves as audit director. “[Without the MBA], it would have been a slower trajectory. I don’t think I would have had the same opportunities this early in my career,” she says.
Meanwhile, the MBA program gave Kyle the confidence he needed to leave his previous job as a minority partner and start his own company, Wildcat Contractors (Alyssa is co-founder). It also gave him the tools he needed to make it succeed. Since launching Wildcat, the company has grown to 30 employees and been extremely profitable – no easy feat considering the Bowkers launched it during a global pandemic.
The couple also appreciated the ability to network with and learn alongside other full-time professionals in an in-person MBA environment. A rare opportunity in Charlotte, and it’s what sold them on the program in the first place.
“Everybody in the program worked full-time so the scenarios weren’t hypothetical. People were either sharing something that happened already in their previous jobs…or a real-life problem that they were having at the time that we needed to talk through. And the professor was guiding the conversation and sharing their experiences and what they’ve done in similar situations. That was just the coolest experience,” Alyssa says.
Since completing the program, the connections built with students and faculty have proved invaluable. One of their professors, Mark Johnson, who remains a trusted friend and mentor, has played an important role in growing Wildcat’s business.
“He’s just encouraging when you need that little push – saying ‘No, you’re on the right track. You’ve got this. Keep doing what you’re doing.’ I mean, that’s huge,” Kyle says. “He’s definitely inspired a lot of confidence in me.”
Looking back on the last few years, the Bowkers agree that the Wake Forest MBA has already paid for itself – bringing about tremendous career growth and offering lifelong connections to propel them forward. And looking ahead, they’re confident the future is bright.
Learn more about the Wake Forest MBA: In-Person, Online, Hybrid >>
New, flexible Hybrid format, based in Uptown Charlotte, starts in January!