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Grad Feature: Major Business

Grad Feature: Major Business

At 17, Darrell Vaughan enlisted in the National Guard. At 48, he retired as a Major in the Army and enrolled in our Project Management Certificate program. Today, as the owner of the telecommunications consulting firm Schooley Mitchell of Kennesaw, Darrell said the knowledge he received will be invaluable as he navigates his new journey.

“For the past 14 years, I have been a mission planner for the Army, a job closely related to project management,” Darrell said. “The Project Management program has validated my military experiences and helped me apply them to the civilian sector.”

Darrell learned about the project management course at a Recruit Military Job Fair in Atlanta and was able to take advantage of VA Education Benefits to enroll. We have nearly 30 programs where Post-9/11 veterans can apply this funding.

Darrell said, “KSU is a quality institution. The continuing education staff was incredibly helpful working with the Veteran’s Administration to coordinate the paperwork I needed to apply my GI Bill benefits.”

With a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees under his belt, Darrell said returning to the classroom felt fairly natural to him.

“Career and family commitments did pose a unique challenge this time, though, requiring some inventive scheduling to maintain balance,” he said. “Personally, I was also challenged to re-establish my study habits, and continue to maintain them as I prepare for the (Project Management Professional certification) exam.”

Project integration and control, time and cost management, and communication and quality management are among the skill sets taught in the project management course. Kristy Mobley, Management program manager, said, “Our instructors, Pete Schestopol and Francine Warner, have over 50 years of combined experience in national and international project management. Our students benefit from having these pros in the classroom. Furthermore, we are a Project Management Institute Registered Education Provider, so the education our students receive is truly top of the line.”

“The material was challenging, but I learned a lot and was very pleased with the overall experience,” Darrell said. “Pete and Fran genuinely care about their students and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure they understand the material. They are continuously striving to improve the program.”

As a new business owner, Darrell said he is focusing on expanding his client base and building his brand. His company offers a broad range of services, including analysis of existing and future merchant service needs and assessment of best alternatives and implementation of cost-effective solutions.

Darrell said the course taught him the language of business, something that has been “invaluable.” He added, “I look forward to applying everything I have learned in this course to my new business and clients.”

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