Student Spotlight

Entrepreneurial spirit alive and well for Brandman MBAs

April 15, 2015

This is the third in a series of stories about students in the Brandman University MBA program. They don’t wait until their courses are finished to begin using what they’ve learned in class to be successful at work.

GI Bill benefits and a long-standing desire to start a business played into both Brian Galloway’s and Paul Encinias’ decisions to seek MBA degrees at Brandman. Here’s what they had to say:

Brandman University MBA alum Brian Galloway

Brian Galloway

Brian Galloway, a Naval Academy graduate, joined forces with his high school basketball teammate Jim Hays to found Bradford Kent Integrated Solutions after earning his MBA in May 2012 from Brandman. The San Diego firm specializes in on site and remote technology support, project management and technology planning for small and medium-sized businesses, schools and churches throughout Southern California.

What’s something you’ve learned in class that you put to use at work?
Early on in my classes I was able to begin applying the lessons on change management, and it was exciting to see how this altered my approach and also seemed to change the response I received to some of the initiatives I was working on.  More recently I have been able to apply more of the bigger picture finance topics as my business makes plans for the future.

What was the biggest surprise or what was different from what you expected about working toward an MBA at Brandman?
I was working at the same time I was taking my MBA classes and I remember being surprised at how immediately applicable many of my subjects were.  There might be a challenging situation at work that I was working through and I would head to class and have these amazing “ah-ha!” moments.  The classes in my organizational leadership emphasis were especially enlightening.  The opportunity to gain a better understanding of the human element of the workplace was liberating and empowering. I was able to work with coworkers and customers, in difficult situations and better understand why they might be responding in the way they were.  Instead of taking things personally or getting frustrated with people’s “refusal” to change, I started to see the more nuanced influences at play.

Do you have advice for future students?
Do your best to connect your classes to your experiences.  Some classes will probably be easier to do this in than others, but the more you can connect what you’re learning to what you’ve done, are doing or really want to do in the future, the better.

What’s next for you?
I’m looking forward to the continuous challenge of building and refining a business.  It requires constant evaluation and innovation, and I’m excited to see where the business goes.

Brandman University MBA student Paul Encinias

Paul Encinias

Paul Encinias, founder of the national pest control company Gopher Grabbers, used his knowledge of math, physics and the environment to come up with a novel way of catching and removing gophers without harming the environment with poisons. His system provides long-term remediation, and customers report two years of gopher-free fields and yards. His company was recently nominated as the No. 1 veteran-owned business in the San Joaquin Valley. Encinias started college at the University of New Mexico, joined the Navy and finished his undergraduate work at Brandman, graduating summa cum laude in 2014. He plans to finish his MBA in 2015.

What made you go for an MBA at Brandman?
I have the GI Bill and could have chosen a lot of different colleges, but one of the reasons I stuck with Brandman was because of the professors. They have incredible backgrounds in the fields they’re teaching us. My leadership class was taught by a man who was a CEO of a $125 million company. I started my company in 2013 while I was still an undergraduate, but wanted to learn more about how to run my company.

What’s something you’ve learned in class that you have already put to use at work?
I learned that one of the reasons that the company has grown is something called the triple bottom line. There’s been a change in how corporations operate. They’re looking at more efficient ways to generate profit. One of the corporations we studied was Subaru and how by recycling materials that had been going to waste, they saved money, were environmentally friendly and increased customer awareness. In agriculture, there’s a lot of pesticide usage, but you have to consider the long-term effects. It’s not a sustainable practice. So we’re (Gopher Grabbers) looking out for the wellbeing of people, but also increasing profit and helping the environment. It comes back to social responsibility.
The other defining implications of the (MBA) program would be the leadership side of it. You can have all the tools in finance, etc., but if you don’t know how to be a leader, it’s going to go belly up. I learned about servant leadership and how that impacts sustainability. That taught me to take the time to train people in the company on these leadership techniques. I wanted to take what I learned and implement that into my organization. It’s bigger than pest control. It’s about changing the society we live in for the better.

What was the biggest surprise or what was different from what you expected about working toward an MBA at Brandman?
The professors have a wealth of knowledge. Even though I’m the owner and CEO of a national company, I’m surprised at what I don’t know and how I’ve learned from them. They taught me to break everything down quickly, then built it back up and learn from your mistakes. I am the biggest failure I know but through failure I’ve become successful. Now I view that as a way to refine the process into success.

Do you have advice for future students or students who are just starting their MBAs?
For people considering getting into the program, they should know it’s a challenge, but it is a program that broadens your horizons. It makes you contemplate the foundation of your business and it shakes it up, and says, “Hey, there’s so much more to learn.” Those who are in it now, stick with it. Really pay attention to what’s taught in class because the way this program is structured, we’re not just studying what has happened, we’re looking at what’s failed and how to use that in this changing environment. They’re going to learn how to extrapolate from the past to survive.

Previous stories about MBA students and the real world:
MBA students know how to make time in class pay off: Stephon Brooks, Dave Gunty
MBA students see immediate results at work from time in classroom: Sandra Wells, Alice Chan

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