Loyola Business Blog

Reflections from a graduating Greyhound and parent

Reflections from Bennett Robert (Bob) Wisner Sr., a graduating Greyhound and parent:

The last two and a half years have flown by. They always do. But I can honestly say there has never been a period in my 60 years which, when I look back, have been more impactful. 

You see, I spent these years as a student in the Sellinger School of Business earning my MBA. It was a bucket list item of sorts, unfinished business if you will. After all, with more than 40 years of business experience—including 15+ years as a successful entrepreneur and 10 years running divisions of Fortune 100 companies—I felt I had a good grasp of how things worked in the business world. Well, this just goes to show you just how wrong a guy can be.

It really hit home when I was having dinner with a friend one night. I was about halfway through the program, and she asked how much of what I was learning was new to me. I thought back to the things we'd learned at Loyola to that point, and replied "probably 90-95% of what we're learning at Loyola is new to me." 

There's no doubt what I’ve learned as a graduate student at Loyola has allowed me to grow personally; but even at this later stage of my career, I've grown professionally as well. The things we talked about in class were always topical, relevant, timely, and in vogue with what's really happening in the business world today. Every week I was able to apply what I was learning in class with my employer, The Class Produce Group. Each and every course was useful to me—and to my classmates in their respective roles and companies—and this made it very easy for them to be supportive of the endeavor. Some of it was specific to a subject, and much of the management and leadership classes had a broad application across multiple departments.

What I learned at Loyola allowed to contribute more and at a much higher level than what would have otherwise been possible. It would be hard to quantify in one writing the value of the knowledge, the friendships, the contacts, and the self-development and realization this program has provided—but this won't stop me from trying…

I've spent the last two and a half years learning and growing with some of the most incredible people I've ever had the pleasure of meeting, classmates and faculty alike. I have no doubt these treasured relationships will last a lifetime. During these two and a half years, my MBA cohort and faculty members walked on the Great Wall of China and visited some incredible think tanks and incubators in Baltimore and Boston, only to return home and stroll the battlefield at Gettysburg and analyze the battles from a leadership and strategic perspective. We visited countless companies around the world and had the opportunity to meet the leaders and board members of these companies and learn from them. We heard firsthand that a Loyola business education is recognized and well-respected on the other side of the globe.

Safe to say, life will never be the same for me. I see the world differently and better than I ever would have without the benefit of my time at Loyola.  

Perhaps the most rewarding part of my journey was sharing the experience with my son, Bennett. You see, Bennett started at Loyola University Maryland as a first-year student in 2014. It's merely a coincidence we both ended up as members of the Class of 2018. Bennett will earn his bachelor’s degree from the Sellinger School of Business on May 19, the same day as I receive my diploma and earn my MBA. We've both enjoyed having some of the same professors—especially when we battled for bragging rights to see who could out do whom when it came to GPA. When we talked about school, Bennett was able to take me through the undergrad piece of courses we shared, and I was able to shed light on what the foundation he was learning would lead to. It was interesting and enjoyable to have the type and depth of the conversations we had because of our collective journey. Perhaps equally as important, this experience provided a unique opportunity for me, as a parent and a graduate student, to see and experience firsthand the value of the education my son was receiving.

I will always treasure these years and our memories, and we'll always have them to reflect on and rekindle. It's been so rewarding as a parent to see my son develop personally, academically, and spiritually at Loyola. Bennett will soon move on to pursue his dream of playing on the PGA tour, but he does so with a solid foundation of business, which is already serving him well. He knows how to market and how's he's being marketed to. He understands business and relationships and how to handle them. He's already speaking with agents, sponsors, and potential sponsors, and I've seen him hold his own with all of them. We are both better people for our time here.

Finally, as we walk across the stage on May 19, there will be such a rush and mixture of emotions: my pride as a dad in seeing my son earn his degree from such a wonderful establishment; the satisfaction I will enjoy for earning my degree and the fun we had doing it together. And then there's the mom factor: My wife will be there watching her husband and son graduate; my mother will see her son and grandson graduate; and there will be a pair of proud grandparents looking down proudly from above. Not a bad way to wrap two and a half incredible life-changing years as a Greyhound.