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Student completes online MBA while being a war zone away

November 16, 2012

For Joshua Lippincott, the daily struggle of balancing life and school is more complicated than the school-life balance of a traditional university student.

As an officer in the United States Army, Lippincott's challenge lies in raising a family while completing his degree and serving in the U.S. military.  

Struck by young love, Lippincott married his high school sweetheart and soon started a family in California – but he quickly realized his job opportunities were slim without a high school diploma. With bills piling up and a family to provide for, he made the decision to join the Army.

After working 14 years as a transportation officer, Lippincott decided to take advantage of the education benefits offered by the military. He earned a bachelor's degree in business and supply chain management from the University of Texas, and from there set his sights on the online MBA program offered through ASU's W. P. Carey School of Business.

“I chose the MBA program because I was looking for a school whose name has national recognition," Lippincott says. "The online aspect of the MBA program allowed me to attend graduate school regardless of my location. I can earn a degree while being deployed to a war zone in Afghanistan.”

Although Lippincott says there were times when he felt overwhelmed, he says that online communication tools like Skype and Blackboard were integral in helping him communicate with his peers. The interaction helped him gain a civilian perspective on the supply chain management projects on which he was working.

“I’ve tried to apply the concepts I’ve learned in classes within a military context. I get a lot of information from my peers that I can tweak based on different military tasks. I’ve really enjoyed that,” he said.

Another attractive feature for Lippincott at ASU was the Pat Tillman Veterans Center located in the Memorial Union on ASU's Tempe campus.

“ASU has been absolutely fantastic working with me as a vet," he says. "The Veterans Center made my life incredibly easy. They dealt with all of my paperwork, contacted the VA (Department of Veterans Affairs) and helped me maximize my time here.”

Lippincott will receive his degree this month from ASU. He says he is already thinking about working toward a doctorate and other professional certifications, as he says that additional training will make him a more appealing candidate in the competitive job market.