MBA grad Nick
Arena: 'It's never too late'
in his career, Nick Arena tried to earn a Master's
in Business Administration (MBA). Twice he was unable to continue
his studies due to busy work and family schedules.
When he decided
to finish his MBA at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, he
was concerned that, in his 50s, it might be too late.
"It was a personal
thing for me," he said. "I tried in the 80s, but I was just
"I went into
the program wondering if I could compete with the younger students,"
Arena said. "My first term paper scared the devil out of me."
"I am not that
good with computers, so that was an issue," he said. "When
I was an undergraduate, the computer was in a big, secure room, and
we used punch cards."
Arena, who is general
manager of Acme Electric's Lumberton plant, received his coveted diploma
May 10, 2003. He was named the outstanding MBA student in his graduating
Early on in the
program, the manufacturing executive decided that age and experience
is his best assets.
"As a general
manager, I am involved in every area of the business," he said.
"There was something I took out of every class and was able to
put it in to action immediately."
Youth was the only
handicap that Arena observed. The younger students right out of college
lacked real world business experience, he said.
"That had to
make it more difficulty for them to relate to some of the material,"
Arena said. "What separated me from many of the students, is that
I was interested in just about every area we studied," Arena said.
"I could see the practical applications."
it was harder to keep the number of page of my term papers down to the
professors requirements," he said.
He also took three
courses via the Internet.
"That was a
good experience, but, in my mind, it does not replace the classroom,"
Arena said. "Some of my professors are great lecturers. You can't
do that over the Internet."
The only thing that
suffered was his golf game, the Pinehurst resident said.
"I had a lot
of support from my family," Arena said. "I work pretty long
hours, so I studied on Saturdays. Sitting on my deck with a laptop,
it was tough watching the golfers."
Arena said the MBA
program is very convenient for working people, and he recommends it
to his managers at Acme. A Philadelphia native and Villanova graduate,
he spent a career rising through the management ranks at several Fortune
500 companies before accepting the position of vice president and general
manager of Acme's Lumberton operation.
"I would endorse
this MBA program for business people," he said. "I had some
of the best professors I have ever had."
you get here would compete with the big name schools," Arena said.
Acme Electric, which
manufactures electric power conditioning devices, has in Lumberton since
1968. It employs approximately 200 today and is owned by Key Components,
Inc., headquartered in Tarrytown, N.Y.
The MBA program
at UNCP requires 12 courses and 36 hours and is also offered at Richmond
and Sandhills community colleges. For more information, call (910) 521-6637
or online at www.uncp.edu/business/mba.htm.
to University Newswire