As Tyler Stratman looked into returning to college for a second master’s degree, he found a huge obstacle standing in his way.
“The recurring theme I was seeing was the programs were 80% online or 75% online,” he said. “You had to travel to campus once a quarter or once every six months. A portion of the classes were on campus.
“With owning a business, having a full-time job and living in southern Idaho, traveling around to complete an MBA wasn’t in the cards.”
Then, he learned about the online Master of Business Administration with an Emphasis in Management program at Boise State University, enrolled and graduated in December 2020.
Stratman is a senior dairy production specialist at Zoetis. He and his wife reside in Kimberly, Idaho (population 3,962). Boise State has an initiative to serve a large population of the state’s residents who live in rural areas.
“It’s a good initiative and a good way to bring people to the program,” he said. “You don’t have to live in a metro area to get an advanced degree. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if it wasn’t online.”
Stratman graduated with a master’s degree in animal sciences (reproductive physiology) from the University of Missouri in 2015.
“I was pretty comfortable with the science of animal agriculture,” he said. “I realized the more I worked in the field that understanding more about business would help science and finance meet in the middle, which was my motivation for going back for the MBA.”
Up and at ‘Em
Stratman grew up in Sikeston, Missouri, where he loved science and animals from an early age.
“I was a science nerd,” he said. “I was the kid who asked for a chemistry set and a microscope when I was little. We had a few dogs growing up. Our neighbors had horses. I never had a horse, so I saved up and leased one when I was 15 years old. I did high school rodeo on a leased horse for two years.”
After enrolling at the University of Missouri with the idea of becoming a veterinarian, he changed course and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences in 2011.
“The more time I spent in the program, the more I enjoyed the commercial agriculture production part of it,” he said. “That’s where I started shifting and moved toward a commercial dairy track.”
The MBA in Management program’s online format was ideal for Stratman, who wakes up long before the rooster crows.
“I work in the dairy industry, so I am much more of a morning guy,” he said. “I get up at 4 a.m. and get about four hours of work done in the morning. Then, I start my normal job. I can do a little on the weekends.”
Although Stratman enjoyed the cut-and-dried nature of BUSMBA 525: Managerial Accounting, his favorite course in the program was BUSMBA 510: People and Organizations.
“Analytical data is important, but people make it all go around,” he said. “That was one of the more beneficial courses. I learned a lot in that class about interacting with people and how people think.”
Down to Business
Since enrolling at Boise State University, Stratman has seen the information he learned in the online MBA in Management program pop up regularly.
“I can honestly say that I applied something from every class to some part of my job,” he said. “I was in [BUSMBA 550:] Operations and Supply Chain Management and thought, ‘I’ll learn it, but what am I going to do with supply chain management?’ They talked about bottlenecks and how to find them and fix them.
“The next week, I was out seeing customers and watching dairy cows go through a milking parlor, and I am standing there and seeing that bottlenecks exist. I didn’t expect to watch dairy cows and think about supply chain management. It gives you a different perspective.”
Stratman had a lot of encouragement from his family, friends and co-workers while pursuing his second master’s degree.
“I have been pretty fortunate,” he said. “They have advanced degrees, so they understand. I also work for a Fortune 500 company and with a lot of people with some level of business acumen. I had good support. My wife was more supportive — especially because it was online.”
Now that Stratman is an alumnus, he focuses on work and his hobby, training and competing with hunting Labradors. His wife rides and competes on horses. He is glad that Boise State’s MBA in Management program helped him reach his goal by being 100% online.
“You could tell that this program was designed to be online,” he said. “From a schedule standpoint, it fit. It was serendipitous and worked out well.”
Learn more about Boise State’s online MBA in Management program.