Veteran Graduate Finds Success in Business Management

By Theodore Davis | August 03, 2021
Joseph Mack headshot
Joseph Mack | Photo Courtesy of Joseph Mack

It’s a common story to hear at Texas A&M University-Central Texas: A high school graduate enlists in the military at a young age. Then, when they return home from service, they realize that they do not have the academic credentials to go into the traditional baccalaureate program they have their eyes on.

For these people, programs like A&M-Central Texas’ Bachelor of Arts in Applied Sciences (BAAS) can be a career jump-start. The BAAS program accepts some non-academic experience as a substitute for certain college credits can mean the difference between succeeding in school and not going back at all.

Joseph Mack is an alumnus of the BAAS Business program at A&M-Central Texas and is a U.S. Army veteran. He has found success in the world of business administration all the way, from his undergraduate degree, to graduate work at the Texas A&M University School of Law, and finally on to his work with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE). His experiences as a BAAS student were formative in his ability to progress. They allowed him to make good use of the tools and skills he had learned in the United States Army. He now acts as a contract negotiator for HPE. In this role, he sits down with high-level corporate executives to discuss the legal details of their business ventures. Having gone on to do such great things with his education, he regards A&M-Central Texas as having been one of the places where he learned how to survive and thrive in his industry. Mack was fortunate enough to have experience in the Army that translated into his degree plan, and later his professional ventures as well.

“A lot of it was credit that consisted of leadership training, correspondent courses… those things that I obtained throughout my military career,” he said.

With his background in leadership and communication, he was an ideal candidate for a career in business administration. He did have a few classes to finish at Central Texas College before he could start. Still, the BAAS program’s allowance of experiential credits gave him a fast-track to achieving his goals.

The program’s inherent advantages for non-traditional students like Mack were valuable. He also gained many insights from his professors and peers in small, intimate classes. Mack had lived in the area for roughly eight years before enrolling. Sometimes driving past the campus during that time, he remembered having seen it when there were no buildings there. At most larger universities, he may not have gotten as much one-on-one interaction. A&M-Central Texas’ size makes it ideal for cultivating understanding without being too overwhelming.

“I was able to interact with my fellow students,” he said. “I was able to interact with the administrators and the faculty, and it was all in an environment that encouraged me to strive for academic excellence.”

Mack’s BAAS also gave him the ability to keep his options open. He could have gotten his diploma and launched himself full force into the workforce, but his program had also given him the option of pursuing a graduate degree. That is exactly what he did at the Texas A&M University School of Law.

“What TAMUCT did was it laid the foundation and gave me a briefcase of foundational concepts and principles that should be applied when managing business, and TAMU Law complimented that foundation by teaching me to think critically,” he said.

He recalled his experience transitioning from one Texas A&M University System school to another. His new graduate program turned out to be an excellent addition to what he had received from A&M-Central Texas. The advice he got from the professors in his BAAS program became his most useful tools. Without them he likely would not have felt as ready to take part in graduate-level law scholarship.

“I was amongst giants, people who were CEOs and world-renowned professors of international law,” Mack remembered.

Now, as a contract negotiator with HPE, Mack has integrated himself into the giants’ ranks in a big way.

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