Joshua Godbee enrolled in the online Master of Business Administration with a Specialization in Project Management program at the University of South Carolina Aiken (USC Aiken) in hopes of taking on a new career challenge.
“I recently started as an instrumentation and control engineer at Sigma Science,” he said. “They wanted me to start before I finished the degree, but I wanted to make sure that I kept my 4.0 GPA. They said that was fine.”
After completing the program with perfect grades in October 2021, Godbee started his new role — and his drive to advance his education and better himself contributed to that achievement. He also worked for another local firm, Parsons Corporation, for a total of 10 years.
“The new job is at a project management organization, which is a huge step,” he said. “I had the drive to get the degree. It was the type of job I was hoping to get with the MBA.”
Before enrolling at USC Aiken, Godbee planned to earn Project Management Professional certification. Instead, he returned to his alma mater for an advanced degree.
“I’ve done engineering and information technology for many years,” he said. “I was stuck. I couldn’t get promoted because I only had a bachelor’s degree.
“I ended up on USC Aiken’s website and saw the MBA in Project Management, which was better than getting a certificate … I thought I’d give it a try.”
The flexibility of the online format was especially big for Godbee once he went back to traveling for work after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
“If I have a business trip that’s halfway across the country and have an exam, I can still take that exam,” he said. “Being able to turn in homework from anywhere was great.”
Godbee was born in Charleston, South Carolina, and raised and schooled in Aiken from the age of five. He completed a bachelor’s degree in math and computer science from USC Aiken in 2005, then began his career at Parsons Corporation the same year.
“My family is full of engineers — civil, nuclear, electrical, biomedical,” he said. “I am the youngest of everyone. We lived near a huge nuclear facility. All in the family who worked there were engineers.”
Even with 15 years of field experience, Godbee didn’t believe that returning to school for a master’s degree was in the cards for him. He credits his wife, Nikki (then his fiancée), with pushing him in the right direction.
“When I first started college, I didn’t take it seriously,” he said. “I didn’t have great grades. I finally got my degree, but my grades were not high enough to get into grad school.”
Now, Godbee is 41 years old with three kids — Lily (11), Landon (10) and Oliver (5). His grades in the USC Aiken online MBA program proved his level of commitment to school and his drive to learn.
“Everyone in my family has a master’s degree or a Ph.D., so it was something I wanted,” he said. “I know some of the professors at USC Aiken. They’re nice and helpful people. I like that it’s a small not-for-profit school.”
Godbee had a couple of favorite courses in the online MBA in Project Management program.
“I loved the capstone, Business Vision, Innovation and Strategy,” he said. “It had a Glo-Bus company simulation that was so much fun. I also liked Marketing Management. The teacher was awesome. I had never pictured myself as a marketing person, but I enjoyed learning about it.”
The online format came in handy once again for Godbee as he came down the home stretch of the MBA program.
“I got COVID-19 during my final semester,” he said. “I ended up lying in bed and writing a couple of my papers, but I got them turned in early and took the exam early.
Godbee plans to walk in the commencement ceremony in December of 2021 to celebrate his major accomplishment with his friends and family. While some of his peers didn’t think returning to school with kids was possible, Godbee begs to differ.
“My wife 100% held it together,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without her. She took the kids while I worked on school.”
Having the MBA in Project Management is especially exciting for Godbee because he can apply what he learned to a new role. He is grateful for the opportunity to attend USC Aiken and prove he could be a great student the second time around.
“For the most part, my previous job was engineering design,” he said. “I wanted to move up, but there were no spots. A lot of the things I learned in this program will be great in the new position.”
“Anyone can do it. You have to plan and look at the syllabus week by week. That’s how they lay out the classes. If you do that, you’ll make it through. I got more out of the program than I expected.”