These alumni use their business degree in diverse careers.
Business Administration and
Marketing ’02, Artrepreneur
“I enjoy helping companies use artistic principles in business and helping artists succeed in business.”
I started at a small women’s liberal arts college, but I wanted a wider social and cultural experience and a solid business education without taking on debt. MTSU was the perfect fit. Business was a practical choice. I was already writing poetry and making art. I loved the psychology of business and building relationships. It felt like solving a puzzle. I wanted to make art and write without sacrificing quality of life.
My business education allowed me to earn a living doing what I love. When you take business classes, work on projects, and eventually see your classmates become business leaders, you recognize that businesses are made up of individuals making decisions and creating. Learning from professors with their unique business experience also expands the range of what you believe a business person can be.
Jones College has a beautifully balanced theoretical and practical side. We would study from a textbook, but professors would bring in real-world examples. Benefits of a larger school include a variety of class options and times and more internship opportunities. The college is still small enough that you can receive focused attention.
Your advisor can get to know you and direct you to opportunities that best suit your talents and goals. I started a publishing business and was able to use that as a senior project. MTSU was very supportive. A lot of people on campus helped me make that a reality. Ideas are my most valuable resource, whether expressed through writing, teaching, or speaking. I employ many approaches, from selling a book of poetry to putting marketing on the back of poems in gumball machines.
Now I coach artists. Through the No Starving Artist Academy, I’ve created courses and an online membership platform for artists to sharpen their business acumen. Through public speaking, I help business organizations incorporate creativity and innovation in the workplace. A favorite engagement was hosting and giving a talk at TedX Nashville. I enjoy helping companies use artistic principles in business and helping artists succeed in business.
Business Administration and Marketing ’88
Rutherford County General Sessions Judge, Part IV
“My Business Administration
and Marketing degree prepared
me for beginning
my law practice—
I was opening a small business.”
I shocked the legal community when I decided to run for judge. After 24 years practicing law, I had a thriving practice and a beautiful office. It meant a major pay cut and going to the jail for work everyday, but you’ve got to go where the need is. I felt like it was time for me to become a public servant—it was time for me to give back. You’ve got to give back. As a woman in a male-dominated field, I’ve had to be driven, try harder to succeed, and work hard to establish myself as a litigator, but I am ready to hand the torch to another young woman and let her fight the good fight.
I feel that my Business Administration and Marketing degree prepared me for beginning my law practice: I was opening a small business. You really have to market yourself, and I applied principles that I learned in my marketing classes. I also learned how to ethically run a business, which is something that I’ve spoken to current business students about when I’ve recently returned to Jones College to share my experience during Tom and Martha Boyd Ethical Leadership Week. Education is great, but applying it is different. Professor Lara Daniel (Jones College Assistant Dean for Assessment) taught real-life applications for the material and first piqued my interest in pursuing law.
Jones College provides opportunities to gain real-world experience while still in school. General Sessions Court has MTSU interns who really get a bird’s-eye view of everything, so they are a really big help. We have judicial clerks who help defendants with what they need and keep the court going. When you have dockets of 300 people that you have to see and then have preliminary hearings, they help the system and get to see if they want to be lawyers or work in the judicial system once they’ve had a taste of it. It’s a great opportunity for them as well.
Marketing and Management ’05
President, Quality Exteriors
Marketing and Business ’03
President, Quality Restoration
“That’s what makes
this so rewarding.
We are a family business helping families.”
We grew up with our mother showing horses in middle Tennessee. Working on the farm is where we learned our work ethic, and since graduating from MTSU we have certainly stayed busy. When we started Quality Exteriors in 2006, we had no idea how quickly it would grow. Quality Restoration grew naturally out of that roofing company. We handle damage to commercial and residential properties from water, fire, storms, cars driving into buildings, and lightning strikes. People often come to us at one of the worst times of their life, and we love being able to assist them. That’s what makes this so rewarding for us. We are a family business helping families.
From temporary offices in a horse barn and one employee 10 years ago, the company has grown to 22 employees, with 15 trucks, and employs several subcontractors. We see ourselves as business people running a construction company, rather than a contractor running a business—which is where you sometimes see a lack of professionalism.
Our Jones College education made us feel much more prepared to enter the workforce and own a business. MTSU was the natural choice. We love middle Tennessee. We are now licensed to work in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas, but middle Tennessee is home, and we can’t imagine living anywhere else. We love the tight-knit community. A surprising amount of business networking takes place at MTSU football games. And we are passionate about giving back to the community, serving on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club [Justin] and Blue Raider Athletic Association [Jordan]. For the past five years, our companies have donated roofs to Habitat for Humanity of Rutherford County.
To read this Enterprise story and others: Enterprise
Have any questions or comments? Contact us at: Darby.Campbell@mtsu.edu