Business owner gains confidence with degree from BHSU-Rapid City

Author: BHSU Communications/Thursday, August 16, 2018/Categories: Alumni, College of Business and Natural Sciences, Community, 2018

Carolyn Johnson was a successful business owner, but says it was a lifetime goal to earn her bachelor’s degree. At the age of 47, she did just that at Black Hills State University-Rapid City.

“Getting my bachelor’s degree was a huge confidence booster. It was a big goal and I achieved it,” says Carolyn.

Twenty years ago, Carolyn was taking classes at BHSU in Spearfish when she took over her retiring employer’s business, Kotagraphics. She wanted to complete her bachelor’s degree but graduated early with an associate’s because of time constraints in owning her new business.

“It was my lifetime goal to return to school and get my bachelor’s. My kids were older and it was time for me to invest in myself,” says Carolyn.

Carolyn took most of her classes onsite at BHSU-Rapid City. It was convenient for her to take classes in Rapid City as that was where her business was based. She earned two degrees: a bachelor’s in business management and a bachelor’s in human resources management.

Returning to college as a long-time business owner had its advantages. Carolyn says she was able to apply what she was learning in class directly to her job.

“My Quantitative Business Analytics class at BHSU-RC helped me transition what I’d been doing manually for a number of years into a faster practice. As a result of my classes I was able to run my business better and more efficiently,” says Carolyn.

Classes at BHSU-RC were structured so that Carolyn could take classes over her lunch hour, later afternoon or evening – depending on what worked for her schedule.

Carolyn’s business insight was noticed by her peers. She merged her company with Dakota Business Center.

Two years after graduating from BHSU with two bachelor’s degrees, she sold the technology division of Dakota Business Center to Marco Technologies in 2017. She now works for Marco as a technology advisor and print production manager serving western South Dakota and Wyoming.

“For me, being able to graduate from Black Hills State University in Rapid City - it was the right time, the right place, the right dollar amount,” says Carolyn.

About BHSU-Rapid City
BHSU-RC is located at 4300 Cheyenne Blvd. on the east side of Rapid City with easy access from I-90. The University has a large network of alumni living in the region and has a business program in the top five percent of business schools worldwide.

BHSU offers several associate degrees and certificates that can be completed without leaving Rapid City. Bachelor’s degrees at BHSU-RC include: business administration, corporate communications, elementary education, general studies, history, history education, human services, political science, psychology, social science teaching, and sociology.

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