Bob Roden, '11

Graduate degree     MBA

Career   President of H.E. Parmer Co., Nashville, Tenn.


Bob Roden started his Bryan MBA program unemployed. Today, he is president of 124-year-old H.E. Parmer Co. in Nashville, Tenn.

He applied to the MBA program looking for two things: information to help him better market himself to new employers, and solid networking opportunities. With Bryan’s MBA program, he found both.

In Bryan’s MBA program, each group of students, or cohort, progresses through the program together. In Bob’s cohort he found a diverse set of skills and experiences which benefitted him and other members. “We had experienced human resources managers, sales and marketing experts, finance gurus, and mathematicians,” he said. They made themselves available to provide real life examples to textbook situations.

Bob went into the MBA program hoping to “gain some connection to the community and expand my education.” In each class, he sought to gage his past successes and failures by what he was learning. “Having this perspective pushed me to look for the practical applications and the chance to evaluate different possible outcomes,” he said. “Each class offers a different tool to gage your success.”

While earning his MBA “greatly enhanced the level of opportunity” for his career, Bob found the program much more than a career-booster.

“The MBA program teaches you the language of business and offers the tools to understand the needs of the individual,” he said. “From accounting to economics, from global business to communications, each segment of business has a specific language. The difficulty is how to manage people in every discipline of an organization and motivate them to their potential. The Bryan MBA touches on those key issues in most every class.”

The practicality of the MBA classes added to the value of the program, but the influence of the professors continue to have a lasting impact on Bob.

“Bob Andrews threw down the gauntlet at day one, saying ‘no one gets A’s in this class,’” said Bob. “I worked to disprove that and did so. He (Andrews) is a passionate presenter and challenged the cohort in worldview thinking. I also appreciated the opportunity to call him by his first name. Dr. Phil Lestmann presented the challenging concepts of statistical analysis, while offering solid tools for real life. Dr. (Sebastian) Vaduva offered insight into world markets in his class – everyone walked out of these evening lectures in full discussion of the topics.”

As he looks back on his time as an MBA student in Bryan’s AGS program, Bob urges those interested in earning a graduate degree to do so now, rather than putting it off until the “right time.” He praises the value of the experience, as well as the many opportunities earning an MBA offers students.

“The payback is yours for the taking,” he said. “And once you make the commitment, get to know your cohort. You will find yourself tutoring and being tutored on subjects through every means of communication possible. The program is designed for you to make connections and build partnerships.”