There’s A Good Chance NDSU Has An Advanced Business Degree For You!

Written by: Brady Drake

Whether you are a recently graduated undergrad, a longtime business professional or somewhere in between, North Dakota State’s host of graduate business programs can help you sharpen your skills and forward your professional career.

As an AACSB-accredited body, NDSU’s College of Business is among the top five percent of the world’s 13,000 business schools. This means that you will receive a top-notch education if you choose to enroll in one of their advanced degree programs. But don’t just take our word for it; here is what a few of the programs’ participants have to say about their experiences:

Jeremy Henkels, Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Administration, Agfinity, Inc.

Pursuing an MBA in Agribusiness

Jeremy Henkels

Jeremy Henkels, like many, pursued and received his undergraduate degree right after completing high school. However, Jeremy would go more than a decade before taking the next step.

Now, as a 38-year-old highly accomplished professional and executive at one of the largest agricultural cooperatives in Colorado, Henkels is pursuing his MBA in Agribusiness at NDSU all from the comfort of the Centennial State.


Why did you decide to pursue your MBA in Agribusiness?

I learn best by taking classes. It goes beyond what I can get from simply reading and learning on my own. In these courses, I feel like I’m truly thriving and broadening my skill set. I also want to get to that Chief Human Resources level, and I believe having an MBA is a big part of that. I need to know more about business concepts, and the program at NDSU is helping me learn them. I’m learning about microeconomics for managers, supply chain management, and other areas that I’m not as exposed to in my current HR role. I’ve already been able to take some of the concepts that we’re learning in the courses to my coworkers. It has really helped us to be able to take a different approach to various obstacles, and it has helped me to have better conversations with colleagues from other departments in our company.

Wesley Green, Project Manager, Marvin

Pursuing an MBA

Wesley Green

Just like Henkels, Wesley Green is pursuing his master’s degree in his 30s, while balancing a professional career, schoolwork and family life all along the way.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2013, Green spent five years away from NDSU before deciding to enroll in the MBA program in 2018.


Why did you decide to pursue your master’s degree at NDSU?

I decided to pursue my master’s degree at NDSU because I’d love to own a business someday. I also want to have a better understanding of business environments in general and believe I can complement the work that I do technically through my Mechanical Engineering degree with the additional business acumen from NDSU.

The course work has already expanded my understanding of our business and what leaders are thinking about when they’re making decisions at Marvin. And it has helped me to be proactive in the decisions that I make day-to-day.

I’ve gained confidence in my role at work because I understand more about the decision-making process and how our leadership team is thinking about problems. It has helped me put myself in their shoes and understand the situation at hand with greater perspective.

Mykke Kjellerson, Operations Director, Essentia Health

Pursuing an MBA

Mykke Kjellerson
Marit Alness in Barry Hall.

As an undergraduate student in Clinical Laboratory Science, Mykke Kjellerson had never had her sights set on an MBA. She graduated in 2006 and went to work at Essential Health. But after rising through the ranks to become their Operations Director, she knew an MBA was the logical next step.

Kjellerson began taking graduate courses for her MBA in 2019.


Business courses sound a lot different than laboratory science courses. What made you want to get your MBA?

What enticed me to come back and get my MBA was my role in management. Business expertise is something that you don’t necessarily get when you go to school for the sciences. There were a lot of things in my professional role that I thought I could be better at, but I just hadn’t ever been taught. I also wanted the opportunity to grow as a leader. I realized that through this program, I could not only improve within my current role but also open the door to opportunities outside of healthcare if they ever presented themselves.

Is there anything that surprised you about the program?

Probably that I could do it. It’s not as difficult as I had imagined, because the instructors do such a great job of making it relevant. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing a lot of homework, but rather that you’re reviewing the types of things that happen in real life. We work on case studies quite a bit, and it’s been really fun collaborating in these groups with my peers. Also, I haven’t missed out on time with my family. I’m able to study after my kids go to bed or early in the morning before they get up. Likewise, I maintain balance with work, which is great, because the whole impetus to pursue the program was to better myself professionally. Being able to take one class at a time has also mad the program manageable for me as a working parent.

Danica McDonald, Data Analyst, Swanson Health Products

Pursuing an MSBA

Danica McDonald

In contrast to the others mentioned in this article, Danica McDonald chose to enroll in her master’s degree program right away after graduating with her undergraduate double major in Economics and Music in 2019. As you can see, these programs truly are for anyone that qualifies.

One key similarity that McDonald does have with the others is her employment status. Even though she went directly from her undergraduate to her graduate career, she is simultaneously working full-time as a Data Analyst for Swanson Health Products.


What has your experience been with balancing work and school?

I am going to school part-time. For me, that means taking one or two classes at a time. These classes all happen either one night a week during a three hour block or asynchronously online. I’m really able to have that full nine-to-five experience while also pursuing my education in a way that allows me to still have free time and a social life. There is still a lot of hard work that goes into it, but I haven’t had to make huge personal or professional sacrifices to be part of this program. I’ve been able to stay very balanced.

Is there anything that surprised you about the program or that you think might surprise someone who may be considering the program?

For me, I think I was surprised by just how big the tent is. A lot of people look at business analytics and they say, ‘You have to really be a number cruncher for that. You have to love statistics and math.’ And while that can be true, there are a lot of different backgrounds in this program. I have an arts background and through that, I’ve put an emphasis on storytelling in presenting and finding the humanity behind business data.

All of my classmates come from really interesting backgrounds. Some of them are working in analytics already. Some of them are working at a business in other capacities, but want to get more involved in analytics. You don’t have to be a stereotypical “number cruncher” in order to be in this program. It really benefits from a variety of backgrounds being a part of it.

NDSU College of Business Graduate Programs

Master of Accountancy (MAcc)

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

*Concentrations below

  • Business Analytics
  • Digital Marketing and Innovation
  • Investments and Applied Portfolio Management
  • Leadership and Managerial Skills

MBA in Agribusiness

Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA)

Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM)

Master of Transportation and Urban Systems (MS/MTUS)

PhD in Transportation and Logistics

Graduate Certificates

*In addition to the master’s and doctoral programs offered at NDSU’s College of Business, there are opportunities to earn graduate certificates in the following fields. 

  • Business Analytics
  • Digital Marketing and Innovation
  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
  • Investments and Applied Portfolio Management
  • Leadership and Managerial Skills
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Transportation and Urban Systems
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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.