From high school dropout to Master of Science in Sustainable Business

July 21, 2020

It is not often that a student who dropped out of high school goes on to pursue a master’s degree in sustainable business, but that is the story of Mark Jackson, a recent graduate of the Miami Herbert Business School.

Mark credits the U.S. Marine Corps for getting his high school diploma, and the ability to persevere through personal and professional challenges that got him to where he is today. After four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, he went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from Hawaii Pacific University. His experience includes serving as a Safety, Hazardous Materials and Training Chief for the U.S. Marine Corps; and Natural Resource Specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Mark is currently working as a Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Pensacola where he is responsible for managing and facilitating a variety of environmental and sustainable initiatives in the city. 

Name: Mark Jackson

Degree Earned and Year Graduated: Master of Science in Sustainable Business, May 2020

Why did you decide to pursue an MS in Sustainable Business at Miami Herbert?
I wanted to be on the side of change. I didn’t want to keep going along with business as usual but rather find new ways to do business that positively affect everyone involved.

What was the most surprising thing about the MS program?
Two things surprised me. First, was the diversity of my classmates. Our group of 22 students covered 11 countries. We all learned about sustainability and how it is implemented in each other's countries. This helped me be a more rounded individual and collaborative teammate. The other surprise was how much detail and thought Dr. Kelly and his colleagues put into the program and its development. It was evident that each of the professors in the program cared about individual student success, and the content they were teaching.

Was there a class or professor that was particularly meaningful or influential during your time at the School?
Dr. Parmeter is a great professor that cares for each of his student's success in and out of the classroom. He wants to see each of his students develop a full understanding of the materials and concepts he teaches. And Dr. Kelly—his enterprise risk management class was a great class that brought together many of the other concepts we had learned throughout the year and showed us how we can make well-planned decisions in the workforce.  

Best experience, a memory from your time at Miami Herbert?
Without a doubt, it is the time spent studying with my friends. The night before big exams, we would always study together and help each other better understand the material. Those nights were long, but they were fun and well worth it.

What is your advice for current Miami Herbert students?
Ask questions. The professors care about the success of students and are always available to help, but if you don’t ask questions, they cannot answer them.

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