Haris Vrabac knew Ball State University was the only school he wanted to earn a master’s degree from. He’ll even tell you that the University “holds a special place in his heart.” And for a good reason.

In high school, Haris didn’t take his education very seriously. In fact, he admits that he never imagined he’d go to college, let alone earn two degrees.

But when his skills on the football field turned into a scholarship opportunity with Ball State, his attitude about education began to shift.

“In sports, you can break a bone or tear a ligament at any moment and your career can be over,” says Haris. “I learned that if I wanted to be successful one day and be able to provide for my family, then I needed to grow up and get serious with my education.”

His hard work in the classroom paid off, earning him a bachelor’s in general studies with a concentration in organizational communications. This taste of educational success left him wanting more.

Haris had one year remaining on his football scholarship and he wasn’t about to let it go to waste. It was time to achieve another educational milestone.

Support Before the Start

One year is a tight timeframe, but the former student athlete was determined to earn his master’s degree and even more determined that it would be at Ball State.

“I had built a strong relationship with the University,” says Haris. “And I knew that it was the only place I wanted to further my education; the only place I fully trusted.”

Initially, Haris applied for a different one-year degree option at Ball State, but graduate admissions must have known he wasn’t entirely convinced the program was right for him. They advised him to speak with Dr. Allen Truell about the master’s in business education.

Not only did the online degree program offer the flexibility he wanted, but it also offered a customizable track that allowed Haris to take both general business as well as business education courses geared toward his career goals.

Haris was sold.

More Than a Master’s Degree

Haris now operates a transportation company in Detroit, which his father started years ago, and uses his degree daily. He particularly uses the skills that will help push the company into future growth such as customer relationship management, international sales and marketing, communication and problem solving.

“I believe I received a world-class business education,” says Haris. “The skills I gained gave me so much confidence and understanding of the business world.”

But a degree and skills are far from the only things Haris walked away with after graduation. He also walked away with a mentor and role model in Dr. Truell.

Haris credits Dr. Truell with always being there, “every step of the way.” From explaining course content until Haris fully understood to responding quickly to all communication to being there during a tough time, he could always count on Dr. Truell.

“Dr. Truell is not only a great professor, he is a great person who taught me a lot about not only business but life,” says Haris. “I am truly thankful for meeting him and taking his program. Out of all of my professors, he is one of the few who I still communicate with today. I would do anything to help give back to this program.”

Setting New Goals

With his master’s degree in hand, Haris is eyeing new goals within his career. He wants to become more involved in logistics and sales at this father’s company, and even has ambitions of becoming a business trainer or coach.

In addition to business skills, Haris also gained an understanding and appreciation for the educational side of business. Learning how to create lesson plans and use various learning styles to teach opened a new view to the business world he never knew was there.

Whatever he decides, he will be prepared to tackle these goals, thanks again to his master’s degree in business education.

“Going from someone who thought he would never make it to college to having a master’s degree is something that I am truly grateful for and proud of,” says Haris. “I can honestly say that earning my master’s degree in business education has changed my life.”