"Improve Your Life," This Bachelor of Professional Studies Graduate Advises

Bret Lillich is a full-time employee, husband, father, and now student. He is the Shipping Supervisor at MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc. located in Ferdinand, Indiana. When he first discovered the the 100% online Bachelor of Professional Studies offered by the University of Southern Indiana, he knew he had to take action quick. 

"I reached out to Wes (the BPS program director) and Lee Ann (the BPS academic advisor) about the program and they guided me through the application and admission process," Bret stated. 

Before starting the online BPS program, Bret had worked for a few small, family-owned companies and was looking to try something new, but the obstacle of not having a degree prevented him from accelerating his career. "I always had doors shut in my face because of not having some sort of degree. I think what is important for people to know is that having a BPS degree isn’t the only way the program can help you; I think starting the program, in a lot of ways, got me my current position. Just beginning the program proved to employers that I was attempting to improve myself with a bachelor's degree. This is what helped me get my foot in the door at MasterBrand." 

Though Lillich knew he wanted to gain a degree in order to further his career, it was challenging because of the layout of traditional bachelor's degree programs. This is why when he found the Bachelor of Professional Studies, he knew that it was the right program for him. "I could not have done a traditional program with the limited time that I have. This, to me, was the only way for me to get my bachelor's degree," declared Bret.

The layout and curriculum of the online BPS program ensured Bret that he would gain a degree, while still being able to be a full-time employee, father, and husband. "The USI Bachelor of Professional Studies was the right choice for me because as a working husband and father, I would have had a difficult time going to the physical USI campus. I did not have the time to pursue a degree in the most traditional manner. The online BPS allowed me to take courses at my own pace and tailor them to what I needed for the workplace," Lillich exclaimed. 

Bret expresses his gratitude to Wes Durham, the program director, and Lee Ann Shafer, the program academic advisor. Bret mentioned, "Once I reached out to Wes and Lee Ann, they guided me through the process and told me exactly what I had to do in order to help me achieve my goals. I had multiple classes with both of them and they were so helpful in teaching us how what we were learning was going to apply in the real world." 

This, to me, was the only way for me to get my bachelor’s degree and work at the same time.

Lillich was also able to tailor the program to fit his current job position. Through the Individual Studies track, he was able to take a number of diversity and management courses, in which he developed a skillset that he uses every day at work. "I have sixty direct reports in my day-to-day job, and I use the skills I learned to solve problems and increase retention within those employees. Everything I learned are great tools to have in my toolbox."

Not only was he able to gain a useful skillset and knowledge for his current job, he also used the Bachelor of Professional Studies program as a stepping stone for his ultimate career goals. "I have been accepted into the MBA program at USI. I am never going to be the kind of person that is pleased with the job position I am in. I am always looking for the next step up, and this program has helped me realize my full potential. The BPS was the first step in my personal goals, and the sky's the limit from here."

Lillich advises working adults to look into the Bachelor of Professional Studies program if they are interested in gaining a college degree. "My advice to anyone looking into the Bachelor of Professional Studies program is to just get started with the program. There is no rush to complete the degree, but you cannot finish unless you first get started. Get started with one class, one semester, and see how the program works with your lifestyle and increase from there. I took ten credit hours in the spring of this year while working full time, and if I had not started slowly and worked myself into the program, I probably would not have my degree today. Don’t overwhelm yourself in the beginning. Just get started," Bret suggested. 

"Improve your life." Lillich expressed when offering advice to future BPS students. "The online BPS program is really easy for somebody that is not tied down to one place. With the flexibility of the program being online, I could do a little on my lunch hour, a little on the weekends, and even on vacation. The resources USI Online Learning offers to a student are so easy to maneuver wherever you are, so there really are no acceptable excuses. If you have a reliable computer and are able to connect to wifi, you are able to be in the BPS program."

Bret is eager to begin the next step in his educational goals, which is the Master of Business Administration also offered by USI in both hybrid and online versions. He is excited that the BPS program was able to give him a foundation for his future plans, and for him, the sky is the limit. 

We want to thank Bret Lillich for his kind words toward the University of Southern Indiana and the Bachelor of Professional Studies and wish him the best of luck with his future endeavors. 


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