Evening MBA and MS Students from Across DFW Find the Road to Success Starts in Fort Worth

Fort Worth skyline
Dallas skyline

For professionals looking to enhance their skills, build their networks and get the experience they need to make the next big move in their careers, the Neeley School of Business' various Evening Programs offer a great work-life-school balance. Moreover, Neeley’s unique curriculum and diverse student body contribute to a learning environment that extends well beyond the classroom. Enlivened by a strong sense of community, Neeley attracts enterprising professionals from across the entire Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex — and beyond.

Nevertheless, DFW is a huge region. While that means it’s also a region full of great opportunities, its sheer scale and scope can make attending classes on nights and weekends a challenge. You'll be required to change old habits, adopt new ones and master the art of scheduling. And that applies to how you manage the time you spend getting from your home to your employer to campus and back again.

To help prospective students understand how best to maximize the value of the complete TCU Neeley experience, we asked a few of our current commuter students to share their insights and opinions.

Increased Exposure to the DFW Business World

Many of our students find that making the drive to Fort Worth rounds out their exposure to the DFW business world. PMBA Matt Eckart (Class of 2019) drives to TCU from Dallas. Why? For Matt, his job (in financial services) is one he’d like to keep for now, as it affords him opportunities to apply the lessons he’s learning at Neeley to real-world scenarios. Moreover, Matt appreciates that making the regular trip from Dallas to Fort Worth is expanding his horizons. Matt said his commute enables him to “see the numerous businesses in between Dallas and Fort Worth” that he would rarely come across if not for his commute. And, the more he knows about the DFW’s economy, Matt says, the larger his context and the more he appreciates how the regions’ different industries interoperate.

Carlos Sustaita, a first-year MS Supply Chain Management student, also commutes to Fort Worth from Dallas by car. He decided to commute instead of living in Fort Worth because he owns a home in Dallas. Additionally, “due to the length and part-time nature of the program,” he says, he's able to maintain important family relationships and friendships in Dallas while pursuing his degree.

Carlos also believes that his commute has benefited him by exposing him to diverse types of businesses in the Fort Worth area. Carlos notes, while his background may be in marketing, the majority of his TCU colleagues currently work in “either operations or a supply chain-related role.” His experience at Neeley has encouraged him to step outside his comfort zone and to think more critically about the importance of culture in business settings. As Carlos says, being given “the opportunity to see and hear about what is going on in the DFW area as a whole and not just Dallas,” has helped him round out his skills with the kind of “inside knowledge” typically acquired only from working in a specific profession.

Creates Unique Perspectives

Our students also expressed that studying in Fort Worth gives them unique perspectives that are of value to their current employers. For example, Carlos credits TCU's location with giving him the “opportunity to see and hear about what is going on in the DFW area as a whole, not just in Dallas.”

Energy MBA Taylor Oney (Class of 2019) lives in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas but works in Frisco. His commute is unique, because, depending on the day at work, he will “drive back towards downtown Dallas and get on the TRE Train at Market Center and then ride the train to Fort Worth.” Once in Fort Worth, he will either Uber to campus or have a buddy give him a ride. Other days he just drives from Frisco to Fort Worth. He feels his commute brings him a different perspective because of his work in construction. His office is “located on the job site and can change from year to year depending on the job. Attending TCU has helped me appreciate that work isn't necessarily about reporting to the office Monday through Friday. It's also about travel and all that comes with the experience of traveling.”

Tips for Prospective Students Outside of Fort Worth

We also asked our students to offer some commuting tips to prospective evening graduate students living and outside of Fort Worth.

Ashley LeBlanc is a Professional MBA student who works a full-time day job in Dallas and commutes by car to Fort Worth. Her advice to anyone making a choice similar to hers is to “record your classes and utilize the drive time to replay them.”

Matt would emphasize to others that “the resources, education and effort TCU puts into its MBA programs are tough to match. I'm getting a great education that's introducing me to new people from a variety of backgrounds and workplace environments. That means I'm also being exposed to a multitude of ideas that I’d have a tough time finding elsewhere.” Furthermore, Matt feels a commute should not be a deterrent to anyone considering an Evening Program, as, thanks to Metroplex's highway system, “it's very easy to make, even during rush hour.”

Carlos seconds this opinion. In fact, Carlos feels the commute to Fort Worth should be viewed as “a unique opportunity to better understand the economics of our region. The structure of TCU's program allows you to pursue your continuing education without having to make other big life changes.”

Taylor recommends that prospective students “look into unique ways to get to and from campus” and that they “not let a commute hinder their ability to learn.” He uses the time spent riding the TRE (or driving) to listen to podcasts and audiobooks relevant to his studies. He also appreciates the ways in which commuting allows him to gradually transition his work environment to the classroom.

Learn more about Neeley's unique Evening Programs — and how various stakeholders across DFW work together to give TCU's working students the support they need to achieve their educational and professional goals — by visiting the Neeley School of Business School website.

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