His drive to become greater and a change of address are both pushing Cedric Crossley, Jr., to finish his Master of Business Administration in Finance online from LSU Shreveport. He is slated to graduate in May 2017.
“I have friends who are working on or [have] finished their degrees at both the Master and Doctoral level,” Crossley said. Early on I was taught young to never give up or settle to circumstance and this has been motivation for me to keep pushing and finish my MBA program. To see others finish, it definitely motivates you to want to keep going, move forward and finish your degree.”
And once he graduates? Get that moving van ready.
“The plan is to relocate to Dallas by the end of next year,” Crossley said. “I’ve wanted to move to Dallas forever. I’m just really kind of hanging tight until I finish the MBA. But as soon as I’m done with this, I’m ready to rock and roll.”
Crossley lives in Monroe, La. He grew up in nearby Bastrop, but he frequently visits Dallas, where several of his friends live. That’s how he fell in love with his future home city. He has four sisters — two older and two younger. Crossley is also an avid sports fan who loves the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, LSU Tigers and New Orleans Saints. And his schnauzer, Marko, keeps him plenty busy.
“Growing up, I had a pretty normal childhood and strong faith,” Crossley said. “I was a part of the magnet programs in elementary and the honors programs in high school. I was also in an invitation-only club at Bastrop High School, Mu Sigma, where I had the opportunity to visit New York and see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.”
Staying Ahead of the Competition
Crossley started out as an Offline Support Rep with CenturyLink in Monroe four and a half years ago. During his tenure, he has received three promotions. Now, he works as a Trending Analyst II for the company in the finance department.
“I wanted to advance, which I am doing now,” he said. “But the competition here is tough. Obviously, getting the MBA will make me stand out more against others who are also in search of advancing within the organization.”
Crossley earned his bachelor’s from the University of Louisiana Monroe in general business with a minor in management in December 2015. He initially started at LSU. Familiarity with the LSU system was the primary reason he looked into the online MBA program at LSUS.
Crossley left LSU and moved back home from Baton Rouge after changing his major several times and still not fully understanding where he wanted his career to go. He was also unhappy with his early career choices, so the change of scenery helped push him to focus his area of emphasis to management.
“I started at LSU in accounting, which I found I didn’t really want a career in,” Crossley said. “I thought I liked it, but I didn’t really like all of the number crunching. That’s why I decided to go down a different path.”
Crossley said he was able to apply some knowledge from his MBA courses to his current role within the organization. He also understands how valuable the new knowledge will be in reaching the next level of success.
“It’s definitely been worthwhile,” he said. “I’m ready for the next chapter in my life.”
Learning the Ropes
Crossley has a strong accounting background based on his undergrad degree, so even though he’s not the biggest fan in the world of accounting, one of his favorite online MBA classes so far was Managerial Use of Accounting Data (ACCT 701).
“The course was basically an overview of everything I had just attained,” Crossley said. “I got an A in the accounting course. It was really a breeze. I took four accounting courses at ULM.”
Crossley also enjoyed a more challenging course, Financial Markets and Institutions (FIN 730), mainly because of how much it applied to real-world situations.
“I liked it because of the instructor,” Crossley said. “He applied quite a bit of everyday perspective and activity into what was going on. It wasn’t so much textbook everything. There was a lot of application to different issues that were going on, and we explored a lot of financial uses of companies that were happening right as we were in the course. So, it helped you to see the bigger picture of everyday operations in the realm of finance.”
Adjusting to Online
Crossley said earning his degree online while continuing to work has meant a serious emphasis on time management for him. He said anyone considering an online MBA program should prepare to manage a busy schedule.
“My advice would be to stick with it because online, in my experience — it’s harder than in the classroom,” he said. “A lot of people think online is easier, but for me it’s more difficult. You have to manage your time well. You definitely have to have that individual motivation.”
As he closes in on finishing his degree, Crossley is counting the days until he can move to Dallas.
“I feel there’s endless opportunity [in Dallas],” Crossley said. “I just want to branch out and grow more, career-wise. There are a few places here in Monroe, but it’s such a small town that it’s really, really hard to advance. But in Dallas, I feel the sky is the limit.”
Learn more about the LSUS online MBA in Finance program.
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