By Kylie Gibbs, marketing intern, Mike Cottrell College of Business
Coming from an entrepreneurial family, Sheila Chapman always wanted to have her own business. Then in 2012, she had an idea and better yet an exciting opportunity. Along with a group of people with a similar concept, she helped start Phoenix Benefits Management. Based out of Cumming, GA Phoenix is a prescription benefit manager providing innovative prescription benefits management services to self-funded employee groups, TPA’s, hospitals and municipalities. With a degree in finance and economics and experience at another pharmaceutical company, Phoenix was the perfect fit for Sheila. She soon became the VP of Finance and was charged with overseeing all the financial aspects of the company. However, in the midst of all this, Sheila had another dream: completing her MBA.
Though a working mom of a 3-year-old little boy at the time, she knew that her MBA was the next step in furthering not only herself but her startup company as well. She initially decided to pursue the Cottrell MBA because she believed having a good education and continuously improving herself was always her number one priority. However, Sheila was aware that it wouldn’t be an easy undertaking. She says, “It was a very difficult task to balance family, classes, school work, and the ups and downs of a startup company. But I was lucky to have a great support system at home. My husband was always there for me when I needed him…he cheered me on through the MBA process.” Sheila also noted that along with encouragement at home, time management, hard work and determination were the keys to successfully completing the program.
Sheila said that having an MBA has opened her eyes to new aspects of the business world. As a self-quoted “numbers” person, she said the program forced her to open herself up to understanding challenging ideas. Sheila now uses the things she learned in the MBA in her career, stating that the marketing and leadership concepts were what she found the most useful. “Being part of a newer company we have to make sure we are getting our business model and vision in the right place and at the right time. So having a good understanding of our marketing plan has been very useful to get that accomplished.” She said that her time in the program also helped polish her communication skills. Sheila noted that learning the different ways people connect with each other has taught her the right way to approach the people she works alongside.
After 2 years in the program, she graduated in 2015. Sheila says that completing her MBA was extremely valuable and one of the best decisions of her career. To learn more about the Cottrell MBA, visit our website.