InfoSec MBA Boosts Career Prospects

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MBA Orientation

SUMMARY: Toby Whitesell, a recipient of Virginia's inaugural Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship, enrolled in JMU's Information Security MBA program to help advance his career.

Toby Whitesell is happy in his current job as a help desk support technician at Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC), but eventually he hopes to move into a management role. Last fall, he enrolled in JMU’s Information Security MBA program—a step that he hopes will open up a pathway to advance his career.

“I realized that a bachelor’s degree isn’t enough for career progression in the information technology field,” says Whitesell, who began working for BRCC as a student in 2001. “The JMU MBA program builds on the professional experiences I’ve had working in a computer-related field and broadens what I’ll be able to do in the future. The Information Security MBA program is right up my alley.”

Whitesell, of New Hope, Va., was one of two JMU students to receive Virginia’s inaugural Cybersecurity Public Service Scholarship. Established by the legislature last year, the award provides up to $20,000 in tuition assistance to full-time students pursuing cybersecurity degrees in exchange for one year of public service per scholarship. Scholarships were given to 25 graduate and undergraduate students from seven different institutions in the commonwealth.

A graduate of BRCC and Mary Baldwin College (now Mary Baldwin University), Whitesell chose to pursue his MBA at JMU because of the flexibility of online courses, combined with a few face-to-face cohort meetings, and the reputation of the program. Though he’s worked many years in the information technology field, he’s gained new insights and skills through the courses.

“In my current position, I deal with security issues, but the courses at JMU have gotten me up to speed on some of the aspects of the field that aren’t really related to what I do in my job,” Whitesell says. “I’ve also enjoyed the fact that our cohort is made up of a mix of business-oriented and technical-oriented people, so we have a good balance of perspectives. We can share our different experiences and learn from each other.”

Whitesell is glad that he enrolled in the MBA program and credits his supervisor—and his wife, Lindsay—as supportive and understanding of scheduling challenges.

“It’s not as scary as it seems to go back to school once you’ve been in your career for a while,” says Whitesell, who expects to graduate in December 2018. “I’m glad I did it and would recommend JMU’s MBA to other professionals hoping to get ahead in their careers.”

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Published: Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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