Faculty Make MBA Courses Interesting, Relatable, and Applicable

An electrical engineer for Marathon Petroleum Corporation and a student of Ball State’s online MBA program, Terry Pharaon admits he’s always on the lookout for efficient ways to complete projects, access energy, and limit waste.  

That’s why he chose logistics and supply chain management from the MBA’s eight concentrations. This concentration is a study of ways to improve the flow of materials, supplies, and products from suppliers to clients. 

“Proper management of conventional resources along with renewable energy and the rapid evolution of technology is the future of our world,” says Terry, who expects to graduate in 2024. “In this day and age, everyone shops online. Everything is expected to have a shorter lead time. Engineering must move at the same pace.” 

Launched Career with Marathon 

Born in Miami, Terry says his interest in reliable and sustainable energy production stems from living in Third-world countries Haiti and Dominican Republic where, at the time, electricity was only available on average 14 hours each day. Alternative power sources were used for the remaining hours of the day, he says. 

He returned to the U.S. to earn his B.S. in electrical engineering at Michigan State University and graduated in 2014. 

After serving several internships during his undergrad years, his professional career took off as project engineer I with Marathon Petroleum. With his promotion to project engineer II, he manages more challenging mechanical projects and has overseen the electrical and controls portion of a $26 million capital growth expansion project of approximately 420 pipeline miles.  

Impressed with MBA’s U.S. News Ranking 

Terry enrolled in the online Ball State MBA in 2019. “The BSU program was very affordable, in terms of cost per credit, and had good ratings on usnews.com,” he says, noting the MBA’s Top 20 ranking for Best Online MBA programs by U.S. News and World Report. 

A coworker pursuing the program had “great things to say about the professors,” says Terry. 

“Great things,” he found, were particularly true of Dr. Tung Liu, professor of economics; Dr. Chris Luchs, assistant professor of accounting; and Dr. Brian Webster, associate professor of management. “They have made the courses interesting, relatable, and very applicable to any branch of business administration,” he says. 

How Terry Has Used Class Work on the Job 

Ball State’s online programs are advertised as providing classroom content that students can use immediately on the job.

“The MBA helps me understand how my current company decides to pursue a specific project as opposed to another,” he says. “I am understanding the terminologies used when business development makes a case for a project and asks my team to implement it.”  

Although just a few years into his career, Terry aspires long-term to be the CEO or COO of an organization that makes sustainable energy its focus while managing projects to create opportunities for the underserved. 

Role in International Development is Possibility 

“This may be in the form of building power plants using current technologies and helping build reliable and efficient transportation systems to eliminate the supply chain roadblocks that underdeveloped countries face,” he says. 

In addition to English, Terry is proficient in French, Haitian Creole, and Spanish and sees working with an international development organization such as USAID or World Bank Group as another option.  

“I hope that my project management, construction, supply chain experience, business acumen, and language proficiencies will allow me to reach this goal.” 

 

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