Investing in Her Future, One Saturday at a Time

Maranda McBride (MBA '11)

When Maranda McBride (MBA ’11) set out to earn her MBA, she faced the unique challenge of learning at one university while teaching at another.

McBride, an associate professor at North Carolina A&T State University with a Ph.D. in engineering, wanted to continue teaching while earning her degree. The Wake Forest University School of Business program turned out to be an ideal fit.

“I was looking for a quality program that would fit my busy work schedule, and the Saturday MBA program was perfect,” McBride said. “I was able to confine my classes to one day a week, which made it easier to balance my school assignments and work tasks throughout the week.”

Working full-time while earning a new degree can be demanding, but McBride was highly motivated. “I was already established in my career in academia when I entered the Wake Forest MBA program. As an engineer teaching college courses in a business school, my purpose for pursuing the degree was to increase my knowledge of the various business disciplines so I could more easily connect the operations concepts I taught with my students’ majors,” she said. “Obtaining the MBA made me a more effective professor and made it easier for me to obtain tenure in the North Carolina A&T School of Business and Economics.”

To make it all work, McBride relied on her time management skills and help from Wake Forest faculty and MBA colleagues. “The way the professors organized the material made it so easy to plan ahead,” she said, “and an amazing team made it possible for me to perform well in this program.”

That team bonded through Saturday sessions that were serious about learning — but also a lot of fun.

“The fondest memories I have are of my team and the classmates who sat around me each Saturday,” McBride said. “We were perfectly matched and it felt like we were a family. Even though I had to sacrifice two years’ worth of weekends, I always looked forward to class. I learned a lot not just from the professors but from my classmates. They made all of the difference.”

Today, McBride not only continues to teach, but also serves as director of the North Carolina A&T State University Transportation Institute, a role which calls on leadership skills she developed in part at the School.

“I use the project management skills I learned in the MBA program daily in my current position,” McBride said. “I just completed an executive leadership development program at work and was happy to discover that I had already learned many of the leadership skills that were discussed in that program in my Wake Forest MBA classes.”

The smooth segue from her Wake Forest classroom back to her workplace classroom was achieved by charting a plan for her MBA and making the most of the School’s opportunities. McBride encouraged new students to take the same approach.

“Take your education seriously. Do not take the opportunity to attend a well-respected, quality educational program for granted,” she said. “Go into the program with goals that you want to achieve and use the multitude of resources you will have at your disposal to achieve them.”