Brandi Jorden was not short on motivation to return to college after a 10-year hiatus. The Cincinnati native hopes to become an attorney, but she especially wanted to honor her mother, Janice West, by finishing what she started.
"I lost my mom to cancer in 2013, and one of the last things she told me before she passed away was, 'Don't forget about school. Fulfill your dreams. Go back and finish your degree,'" Jorden said. "That weighed heavy on me and gave me the push to go back to school."
Jorden earned her associate degree in liberal arts from the University of Cincinnati – her mother's alma mater – in 2005. She returned to UC and earned her bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 2018.
Once Jorden completed her bachelor's degree, she gave herself two options to continue into a graduate program: law school or an MBA.
She decided to enroll in the Master of Business Administration online program at Northern Kentucky University and plans to graduate this year.
Jorden was familiar with NKU and liked the application process and affordable tuition. Plus, her niece, Jasmine Jackson, recently graduated from the school with a criminal justice degree.
"I heard a lot of great things about the school from her," she said. "That definitely played an ultimate role in my decision to attend NKU."
Jorden knew from an early age that she wanted to someday become an attorney. Her mother spent some time working as a paralegal later in life.
"I have been interested in being a lawyer since the second grade," she said. "On career day, I always came in dressed up as an attorney with a briefcase and pleaded the case in front of the class. It's something I have always desired to do."
Once Jorden fully committed to returning to school, she knew it would mean a significant investment of time. She and her husband, Michael, have two sons — Davon (21) and Braylen (6).
"The online program provides a great deal of flexibility," she said. "I can get online and get my work done based on my personal schedule. Most of my professors have been very flexible by offering online Zoom sessions."
Jorden said the faculty support at NKU is a big reason she has been successful doing a fully online program for the first time.
"At times, there is course material students are unable to grasp simply by going through the lectures and the modules," she said. "The professors offer a significant amount of support by making themselves available outside of their regular office hours.
"I have had professors who have even given out their personal cell phone numbers so we can call or text if we have questions. And they always provide a prompt response."
So far, BUS 605: Legal Environment for Business is Jorden's favorite course in the online MBA curriculum.
"I acquired a ton of knowledge about business structures such as the differences between S corporations, LLPs, LLCs — and about strict liability law in this course," she said. "I can apply this knowledge to my current professional area of work. This information would also be beneficial should I choose to move forward with pursing a law degree."
On the Docket
Once graduation day arrives in Highland Heights, Jorden plans to walk the stage in the commencement ceremony and celebrate the accomplishment with her family and friends.
"They are excited," she said. "I have a significant amount of family support from my husband, father, stepmom and two sisters. I need a lot of help sometimes with getting our 6-year-old out to his extracurricular activities."
As a wife, mother, full-time employee and student, Jorden believes the biggest key factors to success for anyone in the online MBA program is self-discipline and dedication.
"You have to be disciplined," she said. "There will be times when you want to participate in leisure activities, but you must stay committed and dedicated to completing your educational goals. If you lack dedication, you will not be successful in completing anything you set out to accomplish."
Jorden's dedication comes from knowing her mother would be very proud to see her back in school and working toward her dreams. No matter what opportunities the future holds, she believes the MBA is preparing her well.
"My mom was a huge inspiration for me to go back to school," she said. "I am glad that I did. I know having an MBA degree will be very beneficial to me whether I choose to move on to law school or work as a business executive. The MBA program at NKU has definitely prepared me to be successful."
Brandi Jorden, attorney at law, has a pretty nice ring to it.
Learn more about the NKU online MBA program.
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