In fall 2015, when Nicholas Brown started the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business program that offers dual master’s degrees in business administration and information technology, his work experience was somewhat eclectic.
Brown had worked as a certified professional estimator on a number of prominent construction projects in the metropolitan D.C. area, including the South Riding and Brambleton neighborhood developments in Loudon County, Maryland; United States Institute of Peace and City Center in Washington, D.C.; Macerich Buildings at Tysons Corner Center, Virginia; and the Virginia Tech Research Center ─ Arlington, Virginia.
As an entrepreneur, he had co-owned and operated two local businesses in his hometown of Gainesville, Virginia.
Then, in January 2015, Brown plowed an even different path, becoming a full-time day trader.
“I was successful to the point that I thought I could trade professionally,” Brown said. “But I was starting to focus more on getting an MBA. So I decided I would become a full time student and trade part time.”
What drew him to Virginia Tech?
For starters, having lived in Northern Virginia for the past 10 years, Brown said the number of Hokie bumper stickers he saw during his daily commute made a big impression. A visit to the National Capital Region Chapter of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association website brought images of working professionals – donned in orange and maroon – smiling and enjoying each other's company.
“I was struck by these displays of such strong affinity, a sense of belonging and connectedness with the university,” Brown explained.
Through subsequent internet searching, Brown found Virginia Tech’s high-ranking Evening MBA program (currently #7 by U.S. News & World Report) in the National Capital Region. The prospect of adding five additional courses to earn the online Master of Information Technology (currently #2 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Online Program rankings) at the same time, convinced him that Virginia Tech was where he belonged.
Brown will graduate at the National Capital Region Commencement ceremony on May 14.
Last week, at a Graduate School ceremony in Blacksburg, Pamplin honored him with the college’s 2017 Outstanding Master's Student Award, which recognizes both scholarship and service.
“I am very honored to accept this award,” said Brown. “I vowed that if I were fortunate enough to be accepted into this prestigious program, I would strive to never give up and maximize on every opportunity I could find.”
According to Parviz Ghandforoush, professor and associate dean and managing director of the Master of Information Technology Program, Brown has made good on that promise.
“Nick has been a valuable, contributing member of the Virginia Tech community in a number of ways. He has excelled in the Pamplin Evening MBA program as a student, earning Beta Gamm Sigma recognition, and, as a graduate teaching assistant, he has provided outstanding instructional and research support to Pamplin faculty. He has also served as a National Capital Region Graduate Student Assembly representative to the Graduate School,” said Ghandforoush. “Congratulations to Nick on this well-deserved award.”
Brown’s embrace of Ut Prosim extends into the community where he has volunteered for activities sponsored by both the Graduate School and by the local alumni association.
“I can now fully attest to the satisfaction of being affiliated with the Hokie Nation,” said Brown.
As he mulls over the big decision of what to do next, Virginia Tech remains front and center. Exposure to teaching and research as a graduate assistant has him seriously considering Ph.D. programs offered by Pamplin, he said.
Posted April 04, 2017