Putting classroom knowledge to work is an every-semester occurrence for candidates in Clemson University’s MBAe program.

Successful business executives enrolled in Clemson’s part-time entrepreneurial master’s program, like Rick Seidman, are proof that properly executed classroom learning can add to the bottom line.

Rick Seidman, CEO of Quoizel lighting, is a believer in Clemson's MBAe program.

Rick Seidman, CEO of Quoizel lighting, is a believer in Clemson’s MBAe program.

“There is no question, the Clemson MBAe program has had a significant net-profit effect on my company,” said Seidman, president and CEO of Quoizel, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers and distributors of home lighting. “Clemson taught me to think about business in different ways than you’re used to, then execute on that thinking. Today, Quoizel is realizing results from ideas we had been mulling for years.”

Clemson’s part-time MBAe program caters primarily to working professionals, like Seidman, who choose to earn an MBA without interrupting their careers. The two-year program’s curriculum is delivered through weekend classes, which meet twice each semester, and through online coursework.

Greg Pickett, senior associate dean and director of the Clemson master’s in business administration program, says he hears countless stories about the benefits companies and executives have realized from the program.

“We’ve created a new breed of learning for today’s working professionals, whether they want to advance their careers, or just build leadership skills and learn new ways of looking at how they conduct business,” Pickett said. “The lessons being learned at Greenville ONE are breathing new life into existing businesses by empowering them to solve problems and in the process, add to their bottom lines.”

Seidman completed the program this spring while simultaneously running Quoizel, a privately held Charleston-area company with about $100 million in annual revenue. He said the periodic weekend trips to Greenville and online coursework weren’t about advancing his career or making himself more marketable.

“One of the coolest experiences of my life was going back to school – at age 48 – for the sole reason of gaining knowledge, not for monetary or purposes of advancement,” Seidman said. “I wanted to bring innovation to my organization and my team and we are doing just that. I’m anxious to see how these new ways of thinking are going to affect Quoizel in the future.”

Tom McFadden, M.D.

Tom McFadden, M.D.

Tom McFadden, M.D., owner of Advanced Cosmetic Surgery, also graduated from the MBAe program this spring. Like Seidman, McFadden’s practice is another business that has reaped rewards from the MBAe program.

“I knew our practice could do better by improving efficiencies and measuring and refining different aspects of the business,” the Greenville plastic surgeon said. “I just needed to know how to do those things better and Clemson’s MBAe program provided that direction.”

McFadden said the MBAe student profile contributed significantly to the learning experience, given his peers were primarily proven business leaders.

“My cohorts came from very different disciplines within the business world, but one constant was they all had real-world business know-how and experience. As a result, those in my class contributed as much to my learning as I received from the instruction itself,” McFadden said.

McFadden, who has been in practice for 15 years, said being in an MBAe program that caters to working professionals brings with it some “magical” opportunities.

“Unlike a traditional MBA student, most of us have experienced much of what was being talked about. The beauty of it is, you can relate it to your business situation and apply fixes as the opportunities are presented,” McFadden said. “With the changes I’ve made in my business, we’ve reached economies of scale in staff, and synergies that are bringing phenomenal returns.”

McFadden said at this point in 2016, Advanced Cosmetic Surgery has already exceeded net income earned in all of 2015. “In 2016, gross revenue is expected to increase by 200 percent and we’re expecting a 300-percent increase in net revenue, compared with 2014 when I started the (MBAe) program,” he said.

“Problem solving through innovative thinking is a hallmark of Clemson’s MBAe program for working professionals,” Pickett said. “Through a combination of distinguished professors and lessons learned from cohorts, MBA candidates are able to inject an entrepreneurial behavior into their workplaces that translate into bottom-line results.”

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