Student Spotlight

Brandman grad sails to success with online BBA program

Brahm and Brantley

Brandman University Chancellor Gary Brahm congratulates Michael Brantley on completing his BBA. Brantley finished in 2015 but was unable to make the commencement ceremony. He was thrilled to learn he could walk in 2016.

Michael Brantley completed most of his degree while deployed on a ship. As a community college transfer student, he was searching for a flexible program to meet his needs while being deployed in the U.S. Navy.  He says Brandman University’s fully-online Bachelor in Business Administration program was a perfect fit. He graduated in 2015 with his BBA.

In nine months, Brantley will retire from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of dedicated service. He has held many position during his tenure with the Navy, most recently as a career counselor in the training and development department. Brantley is excited for his future as a civilian and hopes to merge his passion for health and fitness with his human resources experience. He has been in active discussions with 24 Hour Fitness regarding their general manager trainee program – a program he learned about on LinkedIn, using the networking skills he honed while at Brandman.

How did going back to school help you/your career?

Going back to school helped me during my evaluations in the military. When you have education on your record, it can open up new opportunities for jobs. I am now the education services officer (ESO) in my unit. I help other sailors with their tuition assistance and G.I. benefits.

Who inspired you while attending Brandman?

Helen Eckmann, associate professor in the School of Business and Professional Studies, was a huge inspiration to me.  She kept instilling in us persistence to keep learning things like APA formatting and how to be a better writer. She was one of the most influential people because of that.

What advice would you give someone going back to school as an adult?

Make sure you stick with it. Take everything one class and one session at a time. If you look at your degree program as a whole it can be very daunting. Taking each class one at time makes it manageable. Also, time management is key. Doing your best to balance school, work and a healthy lifestyle is important.

Did anything surprise you about Brandman University?

Michael Brantley
Michael Brantley

Graduation surprised me! I didn’t participate in commencement in 2015 (when I graduated) as I was coming back from deployment. I saw the ceremony was being broadcast live on Facebook and I felt like I was missing it. I talked to someone at Brandman and explained my situation and that I wanted to walk. I was able to participate in the 2016 ceremony, and it was awesome.

What would you have done differently?

I would have doubled up on my classes sooner, but it took the first six months of classes to figure everything out. Overall, it was good experience. I wouldn’t change anything.

What motivated you to go back to school?

My 5-year-old son was my motivation to go back to school. I want him to know to take school seriously and to pay attention to it. I want him to know that if I am doing it, he can do it, too.

I was also motivated for myself. Going back to school helped me in my career. Having a bachelor’s degree has been a career requirement, and I am glad I did it. 

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