Shawn Mulvey’s ergonomics career incorporates the engineering in his blood and the psychology in his wheelhouse.
Having found his niche, he enrolled in the online Master of Business Administration in General Business at Longwood University to take his knowledge and career to the next level.
“I wanted some management exposure and business sense,” he said. “I did a lot of research into which school I wanted to attend.
“I was skeptical about the online experience, but with Longwood University’s affordability and time to completion, it was one of the most flexible programs I saw for a working individual. Also, Longwood’s program has the highest level of accreditation [Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business].”
Mulvey works full time as a human factors engineer at Northrop Grumman in the Baltimore area. He enrolled in the MBA program in early 2020.
“It’s been great,” he said. “As an engineer, I do technical work pretty much all day. This is a chance to get the management and business finance experience that I don’t have much exposure to at work, so it is already opening new doors for me.”
The flexibility of the online format helps Mulvey tackle schoolwork any time around his busy schedule.
“The program fits my timelines and is designed for the working individual,” he said. “The classes are seven weeks long, so it’s intense before you move on to the next one. It allowed me to take two classes a semester.
“My work is also helping pay for the tuition. My manager told me they wanted me to go to a program with AACSB accreditation. Longwood checked every box.”
Born and raised in Fairfax, Virginia, Mulvey comes from a family full of engineers, and George Mason University was a natural choice for his undergraduate education. He competed as powerlifter and served as a research assistant during his time attending college in his hometown.
“My father and grandfather were engineers, so I also went the engineering route,” he said. “I found that I liked it, but I also liked psychology and found out about a field that mixed both: human factors.”
Mulvey graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology in 2017 and a master’s in human factors and applied cognition the following year. He spent a year working in user design for GO SDVOSB, an organization that supports disabled veterans.
“I wanted an experience at a different college,” he said. “One of the reasons I chose Longwood was I wanted to meet new people and broaden my network.”
Although Mulvey had some apprehension about enrolling in a fully online MBA program, the transition was seamless. So far, FINA 550: Financial Management, the first course that he took, is his favorite in the curriculum.
“I have always done college courses in person, but online learning has been great,” he said. “I hadn’t done finance for a long time and barely remembered anything about it.
“With Longwood’s MBA program being online and letting me listen to the material when I want, and the availability of the professors, I fell in love with the challenge.”
Since Mulvey enrolled in the program, he has been promoted to research lead at Northrop Grumman.
“I have been leading a small group,” he said. “My ultimate goal is to get into an upper-management position. The MBA is key to that. Without it, I wouldn’t be getting exposure or seeing new work opportunities.”
Mulvey has not been in the online MBA program for long, but he has already been able to utilize his new knowledge at work — especially in his new role.
“The MBA has been extremely applicable to my work philosophy and my work processes,” he said. “The skills are very relevant, and I know the classes will continue to provide useful insight.”
Even though Mulvey already has one master’s degree, he has plenty of support from his family and friends in his return to higher education after a brief hiatus.
“My dad, Charles, says he feels that it’s icing on the cake, meaning I have my technical background but this will help me pursue more upper-level management positions,” he said. “When some of my buddies ask me what to look for in a program, I tell them about the accreditation.
“I have enjoyed the experience so much at Longwood University that I have recommended the program to my sister, Megan, who is finishing up at George Mason. I told her all about the positives of my experience. I am proud to embrace the fact that I am a Patriot and also a Lancer.”
Learn more about Longwood University’s online MBA in General Business.