Talk about making the best of a difficult situation.
When Henderson State University golfer Mitchell Ford was unable to compete for the Reddies during his freshman year of college, he developed a new game plan.
“I was coming off an injury and wasn’t ready to play golf,” he said. “I thought, ‘I am going to redshirt and get my MBA on the back end.’ So, I had planned for the MBA from the beginning. Now, it’s worked out perfectly because I will finish golf and school at the same time.”
Ford enrolled in the hybrid Master of Business Administration in Accounting program at Henderson State University in August 2020 — a few months after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
Because of COVID-19, he has an extra year of eligibility on the golf team, so he will continue to compete while earning a master’s degree. He is also a graduate assistant in the business program.
“The online portion of the program is super helpful,” he said. “I stay busy with the golf team with practice and workouts. As a graduate assistant, I have duties and work study. I can do my homework when I have time, so the online courses are especially convenient.”
Ford graduated from Little Rock’s Catholic High School, where he helped the Rockets finish second at the 2015 Class 7A State Championships. He was also a two-time all-state selection, which landed him a scholarship offer from Henderson State.
He has continued that successful career golfing for the Reddies. In 2019, he earned All-Great American Conference second-team honors.
“I am technically a junior in golf, but I am in my fifth year of school,” he said. “I have been in the MBA program for three months. Most of it is online, but we meet four times a semester.”
Although Ford is in the early stages of the HSU MBA in Accounting online program, he enjoys the curriculum and looks forward to learning more in the coming semesters.
“I recently finished one of my accounting courses, which was quite interesting,” he said. ” Dr. Andrew Almand is phenomenal. I had him for several undergrad classes.”
Doing a case study in Dr. Almand’s course taught him a new approach to learning and problem-solving.
“It was a wake-up call. I had never seen any of that in my undergrad. Now, I am taking finance, which I have heard is one of the hardest classes in the program. I’m sure I am going to learn a tremendous amount.”
Plenty of Drive
Boosting Ford’s academic pursuits are his parents, Doug and Susan, who planted the seeds of inspiration long ago.
“It was kind of a no-brainer,” Ford said. “When my brother, John, graduated with his bachelor’s degree, my mom and dad told him he had to go to graduate school or law school or medical school. My parents are big on education. They are both excited for me.”
Ford knows he wants a career in business once he leaves Henderson State, but he is keeping his options open as he works toward a 2022 graduation date.
“The CPA requirement is 150 hours,” he said. “I will finish up at 150 hours with the MBA program, and then I will probably take the CPA exam.
“We have a financial institution in Little Rock called Stephens Inc. It’s a huge investment bank. Working there is at the top of my list.”
Especially with the online courses in the program, Ford already knows the importance of staying ahead on the assignments. With good time management, he keeps deadlines from sneaking up on him.
“You have a case due on Sunday, and when it’s the Monday before, you think, ‘I have plenty of time.’ You don’t. You need to stay on top of it, work hard, spend time on it, do a lot of research and take your time,” he said.
With all that Ford has going on in his life between work, school and golf, he knows the next two years will fly by in the swing of a driver.
“The MBA will absolutely open up some opportunities for me in my career,” he said. “It will be the cherry on top. So far, it’s been great.”
Learn more about Henderson State’s online MBA in Accounting program.