College for America Blog

Nursing Facility Director Looks to Advance with MBA


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Posted In: Students

Aug • 23 • 2019

Student success story Derek Marchand

Derek Marchand always knew he wanted to earn his master’s degree and had long been encouraged by his parents to get one. But first, he began his career and a family and found that when he was ready to return to school, a traditional program didn’t fit his lifestyle.

Marchand’s employer, Genesis Healthcare’s, partnership with Southern New Hampshire University gave him a flexible and affordable way to earn his degree. In 2016, Marchand enrolled in SNHU’s Master of Business Administration program and graduated with his degree earlier this year.

“I always knew I wanted to go for my master’s, but I took a couple years after my bachelors’s to get settled into my career and gain some work experience,” Marchand said. “Both of my parents did not complete college, and they worked really hard to help me get to a place where I could go to college and get a degree.”

Marchand, the executive director of a 126-bed skilled nursing facility outside Boston, said the MBA program’s online format allowed him to earn his degree while working full-time and several major life changes. In the 3 years he was in the program, Marchand and his wife were married, bought a house and had a baby. He also moved into 2 different positions at work.

“I think the greatest challenge I overcame during my program was juggling multiple career changes and life events, and developing strategies to plan out my time to meet both my work and school goals,” he said.

“The flexibility of the online program was extremely beneficial while also working full-time,” Marchand said. “Between work and life events, the flexible design allowed me to complete my readings and assignments at the pace I needed while also having a clear timeline and path to follow.”

Because the online courses are asynchronous, Marchand wasn’t required to be online at any particular time, allowing him to complete his coursework around his work and family schedule. He said that was particularly important in an industry like healthcare that sometimes requires flexibility and long hours.

“In our industry when many of us are on call 24/7 for operations or need to stay late to ensure a patient is getting everything they need for the day, there is no worry about missing a class,” Marchand said.

Marchand also found the course content relevant to his work at the nursing facility, even if he hasn’t developed a full business proposal as he did during the MBA program.

“While I haven’t yet created a proposal to the extent of what I worked on in the program, the process and research has been vital in proposals I have made to the company to change staffing/employee roles, capital purchases and explaining (return on investment) on each of these changes,” he said. “I use the skills I have learned in the program every day.”

Marchand said he doesn’t have any immediate plans for another degree but hopes his MBA will lead to continued success in healthcare.

“I am hopeful my master’s will allow me to continue to grow and perhaps pursue higher positions within the healthcare industry,” he said.