Justin McMahon

Business Essentials, Spring 2022

How did you first learn about Business Essentials, and what prompted you to enroll in the program?

I learned about Business Essentials when doing research on programs that I could use with my education benefits. I graduated with a degree in Engineering and had worked in engineering research for four years before enrolling in the Business Essentials program. I have been interested in business and saw how beneficial it would be to have a better understanding of the fundamentals of business for my future career plans.

Which business concept(s) were you most eager to learn about?

I was really interested in learning about strategy and finance. I like to think about the big picture and decision making, which the Strategy section covered thoroughly. I also really enjoy numbers, projections, and understanding how decisions affect value, which we talked about in the Finance section. These were both fun and challenging sections that broadened my knowledge of these two subjects.

Which business concept(s) challenged you the most?

Marketing was the most challenging concept for me personally. It was more difficult than I realized to understand how to effectively communicate a business’ message to a target audience. The professor was really good at communicating these concepts and providing us with opportunities to put these concepts and skills into practice.

What is the most practical concept(s) or take away you learned from the program? How have you applied this in your current role?

During the Finance portion of the program, we spent a significant portion of our time utilizing Excel to supplement our understand of finance concepts. This allowed us to engage with the material while enhancing my knowledge of Excel. We used values from the balance sheet, as well as other parameters, to calculate important metrics such as the hurdle rate and the net present values for example. From these lessons, I have become more efficient with Excel and learned about its capabilities for use with business concepts that I hope to continue to use in the future.

As a full-time working professional, how conducive was the program structure and format to your day-to-day schedule?

I found the asynchronous structure to be very accommodating. I was able to complete the coursework very easily while working full time. Typically, I would spend about six to eight hours each week working on course material.

Did you find the time commitment and assignments to be manageable?

The time commitment was very manageable. On top of working full time, I was able to spend adequate time working on assignments throughout the week/weekend. The instructors are also very flexible and can work with you if you have a long work week or are on vacation.

Do you have any advice for prospective students considering the program?

The value you get out of the program is tied to the effort put into the coursework. If you put in the time and the effort, you will have a strong foundational business knowledge to build on by the end of the semester.

  • Undergraduate Degree Biomedical Engineering
  • Undergraduate Institution Case Western Reserve University
  • Current Job UVA Center for Applied Biomechanics, Mechanical Engineer