James Reede III has accomplished more in 12 years than most people dream of doing in a lifetime.
The former professional golfer added another achievement by completing the Master of Business Administration online program at the University of South Carolina Aiken in June 2020. He made the president's list and the dean's list.
"When I left medical school, I had to pick up the pieces quickly," he said. "I needed to find a way to make some money, so I went to work and enrolled in the MBA program. My company also paid for most of the degree, which was nice."
Reede III is a customer success manager for QS/1 in his hometown of Sacramento, California. He lived in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and worked as a client service engineer for the same company when he enrolled.
"I saw that the MBA program at UofSC Aiken had a high ranking," he said. "Plus, it's a part of the University of South Carolina system, which is pretty well-known. I also thought it was affordable.
"The tuition allowance from the company only covers a certain amount, so the ability to finish quickly and the price drew me to the program. I took several courses at a time to get through faster. It helped me get back on my feet."
Although Reede III had only taken a few online courses prior to enrolling at UofSC Aiken, he had no trouble acclimating to the format. He continued to thrive as an online student after relocating to California in February 2020.
"The professors are good about getting back to you quickly any time you have a question," he said. "[MBA program director] Dr. Linda Rodriguez was very helpful. The responses to discussions with my classmates were also valuable."
Hitting the Links
Reede III has been golfing since he was four years old. After a standout career at Monterey Trail High School in Elk Grove, California, he earned a full scholarship to golf at Jackson State University. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies with a minor in biology in 2017.
"It was fun," he said. "I still play golf every day. I played everywhere in college. I stopped to go to medical school, but I have picked it back up recently. I love it again. I just got a new set of irons. One of my goals this year is to play in a Monday qualifier [for a PGA Tour event]."
Before Reede III embarked on his professional golf career, he completed research internships at the Air Force Research Laboratory, NASA, the National Institutes of Health and Cal State University-Sacramento.
He was also inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame in 2013 and volunteered for the Red Cross and the University of Mississippi Medical Center as a student. Plus, he won the Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President Barack Obama.
Reede III spent more than four years as a professional golfer, between 2016 and 2020, and enrolled in medical school during that span.
"You have to have multiple options," he said. "Especially nowadays, you can't just have one dream. You have to do a couple of different things to stay afloat."
Expanding his business knowledge was a new direction Reede III was excited to explore. MGMT A715: Management and Organizational Behavior and BADM A722: Globalization and Business were Reede III's two favorite courses in the USC online MBA curriculum.
"It was all new information," he said. "I was never exposed to business education — [my schooling] was always driven by chemistry, research and biology, so this was a whole new experience.
"It was perfect because our company got bought out April 1. Seeing that whole transition take place, with the acquisitions, the information I was learning in the program came full circle. I applied a lot of what I learned in the program to my career."
In the Clubhouse
With an MBA and a hall of fame resume, Reede III's career options seem to be limitless. He is keeping all of them open, too. He could return to medical school, golf professionally or remain in his current profession.
"Now I lead overall project management, managing new accounts from order entry to live, including 98 pharmacy management systems for Independent, chain and hospital outpatient pharmacies. Seeing the business, financial and insurance side of the medical field and the being able to travel is exciting. I wouldn't have been able to have this opportunity as fast as I did without my MBA from USCA!"
Reede III is glad that he ended up in South Carolina and had the opportunity to increase his higher education with an MBA from UofSC Aiken.
"I certainly got good value out of the program," he said. "It allowed me to increase my knowledge and will definitely open up more opportunities for me in the future. My parents were excited to see me go back to college after I left medical school."
No matter which direction Reede III takes his career, he is grateful for the experience of earning a master's degree online and adding another impressive accomplishment to his repertoire. He also has some advice for potential students.
"Think of the long term," he said. "It's important to interact with your classmates because that could be a networking opportunity. Also, join the LinkedIn groups online. Take advantage of those opportunities. I had a great experience at UofSC Aiken."
Learn more about UofSC Aiken's online MBA program.
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