While growing up on land bubbling with black gold, Chris McGovern accrued firsthand knowledge of finance and tapped into his future career well. Seeing the positive impact of oil on the local economy prompted him to pursue petroleum engineering.
After pursuing roles that led him away from the Keystone State, McGovern returned to his roots and enrolled in the online Master of Business Administration program with a Finance Specialization at La Salle University. He is on track to complete his coursework in July 2021.
McGovern spent 13 months working as a project design engineer for Ecoremedy, a small startup, before landing his current role as a process engineer at Air Liquide in New Hope, Pennsylvania. When he was given charge of capital budgeting of engineering projects, he decided it was time to pursue the MBA he had always wanted. Specializing in finance also dovetailed with fulfilling his job responsibilities.
The flexibility of the online MBA format and the program's Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation drew McGovern to La Salle University.
"They had full-time, part-time and online options," he said. "Pre-COVID-19, not all of the schools offered fully online programs. I was intrigued by that, and I thought it was the best way for me to balance work and school. The MBA in Finance program is absolutely perfect in terms of manageability."
Born to Explore
McGovern grew up in Landenberg, Pennsylvania, and graduated with a bachelor's degree in petroleum engineering from Penn State University in 2017.
He was the team leader on the senior design project to complete the degree, and he also served as a teaching assistant and tutor during the majority of his time in college.
After relocating to Georgia to work for Hydro-Chem as a systems engineer for a year and a half, McGovern came home to Pennsylvania and landed his current role in January 2020.
Two months later, he enrolled at La Salle University. The knowledge he has gained in the online MBA program has already made a difference to his career.
"I like how La Salle structured the program depending on which specialty you chose," he said. "The finance specialty courses have been directly applicable to my role. You can also use them in the future at corporations.
"So far, my favorite course in the MBA program is Portfolio Management. It talked about selecting marketable instruments based on risk averseness, like forecasting risk analysis."
McGovern plans to attend the on-campus commencement ceremony to cap his accomplishment of earning a master's degree.
"I would love to do it," he said. "My dad, Steven, got his MBA in healthcare, so he is especially excited to see me earn my degree with a different specialty."
With his career still in its early stages, McGovern looks forward to seeing what the future holds — especially with graduate education under his belt.
"I would like to use the MBA to have a higher degree of financial responsibility or a higher degree of financial management with an engineering firm," he said.
McGovern is glad to add new facets to his skill set. He notes that the fast pace of the online program requires students to plan and keep ahead.
"I had to have time management in engineering school, but this is different because deadlines are deadlines for both school and work. I had to continue to stay focused in the evening hours so that I could get schoolwork done. You have to block out your day and stay focused," he said.
"It takes a certain mental endurance. If you say you're going to do schoolwork from 5:00 to 8:00, you have to do schoolwork from 5:00 to 8:00. Otherwise, you're behind. You have to stay on top of things."
When McGovern isn't focused on work or school, he writes and plays music on his guitar, which he has done for 15 years. He enjoys older rock and roll and country music. Fortunately, the online MBA in Finance program at La Salle University struck all the right chords.
"I absolutely believe that I can leverage the degree in the future," he said. "I would highly recommend the program to anybody looking for a flexible MBA."
Learn more about La Salle University's online MBA in Finance program.
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