Confidence, Skills, and a Path Toward a Doctoral Degree

Already having a background in business, Lindsay Peelman was looking for a way to branch her career into the education sector and knew she needed a master’s degree to do so. However, living in a more remote area of California proved difficult to find nearby accredited and focused in-person programs. If she was going to get the education she needed to achieve her career ambitions, she needed to look online. 

Lindsay Peelman

Lindsay did her research. She looked into MBA programs and was accepted into quite a few, but when it came down to the final decision, it was clear that Ball State’s online master’s in business education was the winning choice.

“I was able to tailor it to weigh heavier on education courses and round out my knowledge while closing any gaps that existed,” says Lindsay. “I sat next to another student from the same program at graduation … and we both remarked how amazing it was to come out of the same program feeling confident and prepared for two very different career paths.”

Additionally, the University’s accreditation was another important factor in her decision. Because of this, Lindsay is able to teach in California in both the education and business departments with her degree.

Along with her tailored education, she gained confidence and sharpened skills that she can readily apply to her career as a business and cooperative education instructor and coordinator at Monterey Peninsula College. 

“I feel like as an instructor, I learned how to step back and facilitate instead of lecture,” says Lindsay. “I always left with the understanding of how pivotal a good instructor can be for a student. I carry that with me to every class I teach at the college I work at.”

Lindsay Peelman and Dr. Allen Truell celebrate Lindsay’s graduation from Ball State University

But what may have exceeded her expectations even more was the support and mentorship of Dr. Allen Truell.

Dr. Truell, acknowledged by many students for his support and investment in their futures, continued working with Lindsay even after graduation and recommended her for doctoral study. He gave insights on his experience, input on programs she was considering, and encouragement to fly. 

Through it all, Lindsay found that her educational journey would continue on at New York University where she was accepted into an EdD in Leadership and Innovation at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. 

Master’s Degree is a Life Changer for Haris Vrabac

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.”

Dual Credit Track Leads Business Education Grad to Ohio Classroom

When high school business teacher Nick Albers chose Ball State Online’s master’s in business education and its dual credit track, he knew what his future employer was looking for.

His chosen track certifies him to teach dual credit, courses that earn students both high school and college credit without leaving the high school. Albers, who graduated and began teaching at Tippecanoe High School in Tipp City, Ohio, this past year, says he plans to teach College Credit Plus (CCP) classes, which are similar to dual credit classes, through Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio, next year.

In fact, Albers thinks the dual credit track was key to getting the classroom offer from Tippecanoe.

Administrators like dual credit track

“Administrators find this valuable because it allows students to stay in high school and earn college credit instead of needing to leave the school,” he says.

Albers’ Ball State degree also prepared him to manage and implement Career and Technical Student Organizations (CTSOs). These organizations—known as BPA (Business Professionals of America), DECA, and FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America)—provide teachers with tools to bring classrooms to life and resources to help students boost skills in leadership, citizenship, and entrepreneurship.

Albers will pursue CTSO partnerships

Pursuing memberships and partnerships with these national organizations was already on Tippecanoe’s short list.

The master’s in business education taught Albers to be a more effective teacher before he even stepped into the classroom at Tippecanoe.

“The program made me a more effective teacher because I completed course work in a variety of business classes to build my content knowledge even further,” says Albers, who notes that he took courses in accounting and decision-making, entrepreneurial leadership, human resource management, information systems, professional selling, and risk management and insurance.

How technology helps teaching

Ball State’s graduate-level business education students also consider how technology can support teaching.

“I learned how to implement different forms of technology to build collaboration and problem solving among my students,” he says. “In my ‘Improvement of Instruction with Technology’ course, I learned how to use Web 2.0 tools and other resources such as blogging, cell phones, digital journals, multimedia creation, podcasting, and social networking.”

Mastering effective pedagogy practices have made Albers’ first year of teaching a positive experience. He credits his master’s degree for letting him create a specialized path that fit his career needs.

Program rigorous, courses relevant

“The program was rigorous and the courses were relevant, practical, and flexible,” says Albers. “Every course was structured and was easy to follow. I knew what to expect from professors every week.”

Albers liked that professors were diligent about students knowing the concepts presented in the classroom.

“They were effective mentors,” he says. “They helped me to succeed in every way.”

Business education grad believes teaching is in his blood

Master’s in business education (for business and marketing educators) graduate Adam Coats says degree was a win-win proposition for him and his middle school students.

“I love that I can share something that I am passionate about with others to broaden their understanding. I guess teaching is in my blood.”


After Adam Coats graduated from Clemson University in 2011, he began working

for South Carolina’s Department of Social Services as a human services specialist, investigating reports of child abuse and neglect.

Although he had frequent contact with children and their families, he thought he could make a greater impact on working inside local schools. So he returned to college, earned teacher certification, and began his career as a middle school technology teacher.

For Coats, it’s more than a career. In his words, he’s “carrying the torch for an educated America.” He had only been in the classroom for a year when he decided to pursue graduate work. Researching online options, he discovered Ball State’s business and marketing education degree.


One of the distinctive features of the degree is that it offers nine different tracks. Coats chose the customizable track because it gave him 12 hours of electives. “This allowed me to take courses in a wide variety of other concentrations without limiting myself to one specialized track,” he says.

Another draw is the range of teaching tools that teachers can take into the classroom immediately. Before entering the program, Coats used YouTube and Dropbox in his lessons but on a limited basis.

“Now I use all kinds of Web 2.0 tools such as Edmodo, Glogster, Skype, and Twitter, just to name a few,” he says.


Coats, who graduated with his Ball State master’s degree in 2014, believes graduate work has kept him current with trends and research in his field. “I can share and practice these new ideas in my classroom, which is a win-win for both me and my students,” he says.

As a classroom teacher, he has found that greater influence that he desired. In his first year of teaching, one student confided in him that his family never expected him to make it off the streets. After continued conversations and encounters in which the young man shared his exciting life decisions, Coats was overwhelmed to see he had made a positive impact.

“This means more than any kind of money you can make,” he says.

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