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Past, Present & Future Paper

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The University of Phoenix offers business degree programs geared toward working adults. These programs allow full-time professionals the opportunity to advance their education while maintaining a career. The Bachelor of Science in Business Management program focuses upon developing managerial, decision-making and evaluative skills. By completing individual and group assignments, the University aims to provide an education that is both academic and practical to everyday work experience. It was this aspect of the University of Phoenix that drew me to enroll as a student in this program.

I began my studies at the University of Phoenix in December 1997. The ability to learn in a classroom lecture setting and to apply knowledge toward group based projects has been an invaluable part of the school's curriculum. This paper, being written near the completion of the management major's core curriculum, will discuss and evaluate my personal experience with the University by comparing key areas of my knowledge and skills base at three different periods. The first portion will describe my standing prior to the beginning of the program. The second portion will evaluate where I am now at the completion of the management coursework. The final portion will state some of the personal, professional and educational goals I have set for myself over the next five years.

Bookmarks: TOP Intro Past Present Future Conclusion


Upon reminiscing, it is amazing to look back upon the previous year and a half and gauge what has transpired. When I came to the University in December of 1997, I had not been to school in over 6 years. My previous schooling had been at Arizona State University where I did not have educational or professional goals in mind and lacked the real-world experience to be able to relate course material to practical application in the workplace. Later, enrolling in the University of Phoenix, I possessed that experience but my study habits had grown rusty. I decided to renew my pursuit of my bachelor degree because I had committed to myself that I would obtain a degree and out of a desire to increase my marketability in an increasingly competitive employment market.

There are many valuable criteria for comparing then and now to show the impact of the University's education. When I started classes at the University, I had obtained approximately 5 years worth of work experience, including several years in management, and had become aware, at least in concept, of some important processes and values in business. I found myself in the position of vaguely understanding the how's of business, but unclear about many of the why's.

The curriculum and environment at the University of Phoenix have primarily affected several areas of my understanding of business, including my ethics, attitudes, knowledge base, communication skills (both written and oral) and interpersonal relationships. I believe that I have always held high ethical standards, however, prior to my coursework at the University, I had difficulty expressing those ethics and explaining the foundation for them.

My attitude towards upper management was mostly adversarial. A lack of understanding for the underlying reasons for some business practices led me to see things in terms of management, employees and customers all competing with one another for attention and advantage. When a manager made a decision that would reduce costs or improve efficiency, my perspective would reduce the decision to a simplistic effort to gain advantage, rather than evaluating costs and benefits to the business.

Prior to my university coursework, I had not received formal training in business methods and decision-making tools. Therefore, my knowledge base was limited to what I had learned through work experience, most of which was accumulated from only 2 different organizations, both within the same industry. Much of my knowledge at that point consisted of how things are done and processes to be followed. This knowledge served well in the avoidance of major mistakes, however not understanding the reasons behind the procedures hindered my ability to use different techniques and to find creative solutions to new problems.

My ability to communicate, on the other hand, had been well developed owing to the benefit of working in sales and relying upon effective communication as a means of earning a living. However, I still found it very difficult to speak in front of large audiences. Before being required to do so as part of the University's course of study, my public speaking experience was extremely limited and, therefore, speaking would bring about a great deal of anxiety.

Finally, in working with people in a team environment, I had little experience prior to enrolling in the University. The sales profession is naturally competitive. Job satisfaction and compensation are based primarily upon individual success. It was this area that I felt would present the strongest challenge and, with it, the largest opportunity for learning and growing.

The terminal objectives of the business program included becoming not only comfortable, but also proficient in all of the areas mentioned above (University of Phoenix, 1997). Primary goals of the curriculum included the ability to articulate ethical standards, shape attitudes, establish a solid and deep base of business knowledge and the development of strong written and oral communication skills. Special emphasis was also placed upon the ability to get along with and work effectively with others to achieve common goals. There were, of course, several other objectives of the program that were equally important. These few are mentioned specifically because they are the areas in which I feel I have seen the most improvement and, therefore, the areas that most clearly demonstrate the overall value of the curriculum.

Bookmarks: TOP Intro Past Present Future Conclusion


Upon completion of the majority of the management core classes, I am able to reflect upon these areas and find considerable growth. Besides the obvious benefit of receiving formal training in tools, techniques and information used by business managers, the University's program has provided many other tangible benefits. Despite losing familiarity with the practice of studying during my hiatus from higher education, learning at the University quickly became an easy and motivating activity.

Overall, the business program has given me a deeper understanding of the underlying reasons for why businesses operate in the manner they do,



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