Academics, Alumni, Campus wide, College of Business, MBA

Overcoming obstacles on the way to an MBA

By CSU Media | October 7, 2019

Antwione McKinney earned his MBA with a management information systems emphasis in 2018. He’s grateful for the opportunity, but nothing about earning his master’s degree was easy.

McKinney has worked in the IT field for nearly two decades and currently is the director of technology for a private academy in the Mount Pleasant area. He and his wife have two children, a son, 11, and a daughter, 15. The McKinneys are a tightknit family and love hitting the county parks and area beaches or just relaxing at home with a movie. Avid travelers, they love taking road trips.

Learn more about McKinney’s experience in graduate school.

Learning Leadership & Service

Completing my master’s degree has allowed me to get a deeper understanding of how businesses operate, accounting and corporate finance principals, and how Christ fits into the center of it all. Applying a Christ-centered focus to existing and emerging business practices has been a transformative experience. Completing my master’s at CSU provided me with a better understanding of not only what it means to lead, but equally what it means to serve. It was Robert K. Greenleaf who coined the phrase “Servant Leadership.” Christ is the perfect embodiment of Servant Leadership. In Luke Chapter 22, verse 27, Jesus states, “For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.”

Overcoming Obstacles

One of the biggest obstacles was completing my degree while caring for my daughter, who was diagnosed with a serious medical condition during my second semester at CSU. This involved multiple tests, inpatient stays, and frequent trips to the New England area for her on-going treatment. Trying to juggle family, a full-time job, being a full-time student, and now dealing with this unexpected series of events involving my daughter was very taxing. There were oftentimes I felt like I couldn’t continue my studies. Other times I wanted to quit.

The remedy was prayer. I prayed every day and often, asking God to grant me the strength to continue to provide for my family, be there for my daughter, and (if it is in His will) allow me to continue my studies. I leaned on God daily, and, only through His Grace was I able to finish my studies. The compassion and vested interest of the amazing faculty and administrative body at CSU and the School of Business in my success was a major contributing factor to my ongoing success. They care deeply for each and every CSU student and are just as invested in your personal enrichment as your academic achievement. 

My advice: You got this. Take it one semester at a time, or one course at a time if needed.

Maintaining Work/Life Balance

It certainly wasn’t a walk in the park. Sometimes, if working on a major assignment or preparing for a test, I had to sacrifice a weekend with my family in order to complete the assignment. You will find late nights and early mornings as your constant companion. However, always remember that if you stay the course, the light at the end of the tunnel is much closer than it seems. It is also very important to have a family that supports you and is willing to sacrifice quality time to ensure your success. 

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