Alumni Profiles: The EMBA for an Entrepreneur

There are all types of leaders, with all types of personalities and career goals, and the Executive MBA program offers a personalized experience to fit each of them. 

Tonya Veasey, class of 2012, started her own public relations firm, OCG+, in 2006. While she tended to run her business based on gut instincts, she wanted to gain more knowledge to inform those instincts. She visited a variety of schools offering MBA programs, but was attracted to the support system offered at TCU Neeley. That decision had a major impact on her bottom line.

Here’s a look at the program from Tonya’s perspective.

Choosing TCU Neeley

I chose to pursue an EMBA because I wanted to grow my business, and I wanted to do it in a more strategic way. And I felt by going to TCU it would give me the tools that I needed to do that.

I visited other schools. I thought TCU really provided me with a strong support system; a great network. The alumni were very supportive of the school. The curriculum was great, and it really offered what I was looking for to grow my business.

The Best Part of the Program

My favorite class that I have had is Business Law. Dr. Rhodes was just amazing in the way he taught and the amount of information he introduced to us. As a business owner, I could immediately understand some of the legal implications of running my business on a day-to-day basis. Of course, I’m not planning to go to law school, but now I know questions to ask my attorney, or I know when sometimes a red flag presents itself, I know that I may want to dot my I’s and cross my T’s a little better than I was doing before.

So we’ve had some amazing professors, but I’ve learned probably the most from my classmates. We all come from very diverse backgrounds, and working in teams, and working through problems together – especially as a business owner, very few times you have the opportunity to sit with other people and be a little vulnerable and say “I don’t know,” because people who work for me expect me to know everything. This allows me the opportunity to work with people and get a different perspective. To really build a network outside of school.

Managing Time as a Business Owner and Parent

It’s not easy. I planned as far ahead as I could, to organize my personal life and make sure I had the people in place to assist me with my six-year-old. As it relates to work, I tried to hire really good people who did not need me on a day-to-day basis. So it was really planning and putting people around me that would allow me to somewhat be absent at times.

Class on Friday, ROI on Monday

You definitely get your return on investment. It is not easy by any means, and you really get what you put into the program. Make sure you’re willing to do the work. There is a lot that is required of you. You need to be serious. You need to make sure you really want to be here for the right reasons. But you really will get your return on investment.

Every other Monday, we have a staff meeting, and they are waiting to see what I’m going to bring to the staff meeting as a tool. It’s really been a great program for me to take what I’ve learned here and bring it back to my business. We’re currently going through an organizational structure change, and I’ve used many tools that I’ve learned here in order to do that. I cannot think of a class that I’ve not been able to take even just a little bit of it back to my company.

We’ve been able to be a lot more analytical about the decisions that we make. And that has really hit my bottom line. I would say this year our revenue went up 20%. A great deal of that is due to tools that I gained here that I’ve been able to implement in my company. I think that definitely it improved my bottom line.

Sending an Employee Through the Program

I cannot imagine someone not getting their return on their investment by doing this program. I personally wish that I could send anyone in my company who would like to go through this program, through this program. Unfortunately, we are a small company and could not afford that. But what I would do is give them the flexibility to be able to go through a program like this. I think there are different ways as business owners we can support our employees, and sometimes it may not be through funds, but I think it’s very important that we give them that flexibility to learn more than what we have to offer inside our four walls.

Tonya Today

Since this 2012 interview, Tonya has grown OCG+ into a multi-million-dollar company, representing brands including AT&T, Bell Helicopter, Tarrant Regional Water District, Transurban, Sodexo and Tarrant County College District. She is now acting as an advisor and strategist on public affairs and DEI initiatives with corporations and civic organizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Washington D.C. areas. She says she still uses tools she learned at TCU Neeley daily, and continues to draw on the network she built while in the program.