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University of Delaware - Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics

By Dena Hillison January 19, 2022

A passionate dedication to lifelong learning and career progression is a common trait of alumni from the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. We reached out to some outstanding Lerner alumni to share their professional experiences and insights on improving the world of business for future generations of Blue Hens.

Brendan William O’Connor earned an MBA in 2021 and currently works as a senior treasury analyst for the Salt River Project in Gilbert, Arizona. Upon graduation, O’Connor shared details about his journey to the MBA and what he learned through the program at Lerner.

Lerner: Why did you decide to pursue your program at the Lerner College?

O’Connor: In 2018, I felt it was time to pursue my MBA. I chose Lerner College for several reasons – high rankings in national surveys, cost-effectiveness, online options and timeframe. Being a late-career individual, I wanted to focus most on the time to completion piece.

In May 2021, I achieved my goal. Over that time, I was thoroughly impressed with several factors that Lerner offered. I’ll list these in no particular order: ease of communication with professors, accomplishments and tenure of most of the professors, support staff and the financial services department. While the classes and coursework weren’t difficult, there was a challenging component that I thrived on.

Looking back, the most important standout during my experience has been the higher education piece. Higher education has been a focus for me now for several factors, personal improvement, analytical reasoning and showing our children to always learn. When I think of higher education, I now relate data-driven results to the decision-making process.

Lerner: What did you learn through this opportunity that you wouldn’t have learned anywhere else?

O’Connor: Perseverance of goals and group work flexibility.

Lerner: Please share an example of a course or concept that you were able to apply directly to your life and/or career.

O’Connor: Project work is my main focus in my career. This was instrumental during my UD coursework.

Lerner: Describe an important connection you have made through your program.

O’Connor: I met other students during my group work.

Lerner: If you were to describe your classmates in one word, what would that be and why?

O’Connor: Professionalism. Working with a lot of different backgrounds at UD.

Lerner: How did you balance your career with your studies?

O’Connor: UD provided a great deal of flexibility for online students.

Lerner: Fill in this sentence: “My program helped me become…”

O’Connor: A better person.

Lerner: What piece of advice would you give to current UD students?

O’Connor: Persevere.

Lerner: What are your professional plans or next steps for the future?

O’Connor: Continue working. Another degree may be in my future.

Lerner: What piece(s) of advice do you have for fellow businesspeople?

O’Connor: Continue to learn and become an avid reader.

Lerner: What does it mean to you to be a Lifelong Lerner?

O’Connor: Continuous improvements.

Lerner: Is there any additional information you would like to share?

O’Connor: The journey is worthwhile.