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Over 15 years ago, Mary Brehl* made the difficult decision to step away from her bachelor’s degree program.
“I found it hard to juggle working full-time, completing a degree, and life as a newlywed,” she says. And when her daughter was born in 2001, Brehl’s daily to-do list grew even longer. “As my responsibilities grew, I had less and less time to dedicate to finishing my degree.” Completing her bachelor’s degree got put on the backburner.
Even so, Brehl carved out a career in human resources, and after years in the field, the need for a degree reemerged. In 2014, she started a new role as an HR generalist for an industrial controls company. It wasn’t long before Brehl began to feel the tug to go back to school to finish her bachelor’s degree. She was well aware that a degree could probably help her advance in the organization.
Brehl mentioned to her boss that she wanted to go back to school. Her boss was supportive and recommended the school she was attending at the time—Capella University. “She knew that I not only worked full-time, but had a family with an active extracurricular schedule,” Brehl explains. “She suggested the FlexPath format at Capella, as she thought it would fit my needs for a flexible schedule perfectly.”
Brehl enrolled in 2014, opting for the FlexPath online learning format, which allows students to set their own deadlines and move at their own pace. Initially, she was concerned that FlexPath’s self-paced format would lack the support of traditional instructor-led classes. But she experienced one-on-one engagement with professors, and got the guidance she needed. “I also found myself able to draw from work experience for assignments and projects. And I was able to apply the course material in a more meaningful way than I think I would have been able to at a younger, less-experienced age.”
Brehl says she spent much of her free-time on the weekends doing homework, but admits that it was her choice. “That’s the beauty of the FlexPath format—you set your schedule for turning in assessments,” she explains. “You can go as fast as you want at a pace that works best with your busy schedule.”
While Brehl says that finding the time to finish her degree was challenging, she believes the benefits have been worth the effort. “It was a challenge, but, for me, achieving my goal of obtaining a degree was worth every sacrifice made during the journey.”
After completing her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Capella’s FlexPath format in January of 2016, Brehl was promoted to an HR manager position. She decided to continue her education and has started an MBA in Human Resource Management via FlexPath. After obtaining her master’s, she plans to develop programs in leadership and talent management to benefit and sustain her company now, and into the future.
Brehl readily recommends the FlexPath learning format as a great way for professionals to earn a degree while still working full or part time. “Going back on the traditional route wouldn’t have been successful for me and my lifestyle. There is not another option, in my opinion, that offers the work-life-flexibility to professionals that FlexPath offers.”
*Actual Capella learner who agreed to appear in promotional materials for Capella.