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September 04, 2014

Success not simulated

South University Newsroom

Jefferson Reid
Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Administration
Savannah Campus
Graduated June 2012
Employment: Project Scheduler and Analyst, Gulfstream Aerospace

Jefferson Reid admits that he does not know much about athletic footwear. But apparently, he knows plenty about business, since he recently placed in the top 20 worldwide in a business-simulation game involving more than 1,000 teams. The industry in the simulation may have been athletic shoes, but the skills to win were business skills, just what Jefferson went back to school to learn.

In 2009, Jefferson had worked his way up from aircraft mechanic to more of a project management setting.  When the opportunity came to go back to school, he knew getting the job he wanted would require a bachelor’s degree.
 
“I wanted to stay in project management, but I knew my associate’s degree in aviation technology wouldn’t allow me to get where I wanted to be,” said Jefferson. “A business degree was most relevant to the experience I had gained in the workforce.”

Jefferson’s decision was a good one. Gulfstream soon posted a position for a project scheduler and analyst – and it required a bachelor’s degree. Jefferson applied and was hired even though he was only halfway through his studies. He says that being in school helped him land the job, and that he uses skills he learned at South University every day.

“I’m in the program office, so my operations courses help me a lot,” he said. “But even my accounting and business communications skills are relevant, too. When I went back to school I was very nervous about those courses, but now I’m much more comfortable.”

The flexibility of South University’s class schedules became very important when Jefferson began working full time and going to school full time. He took courses in the evenings and on weekends, and took a few courses through South University’s Online Programs as well, graduating on time in June 2012.

As his last course before graduation, Jefferson took a business simulation capstone course, a class that pulls together business concepts from across the curriculum.

Jefferson admits that he was overwhelmed by all the decisions that he had to make at the beginning of the simulation game. But after the first few weeks, he received an email from the game’s administrators telling him that his “Exxel Footwear” was ranked in the top 100.

“I had been pursuing a low-cost, low-quality strategy, but I began to slowly increase quality as the game went on, and raise prices accordingly,” he said.

The strategy kept Jefferson moving up the charts, and when the game ended he ranked 17th overall, 16th in earnings per share and 19th in stock price. Being in the top 1.5 percent of game participants is quite an individual accomplishment, but Jefferson is quick to share credit with his business professors for his success.

“South University professors do a good job of teaching the concepts and then combining them. The individual instruction I received allowed me to put it all together on a worldwide stage.”