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Online Forest Business and Investment degree pays dividends for enrolled student

By April 3, 2023August 3rd, 2023No Comments

Graduate studies are a valuable resource that can help professionals advance in their field. Building upon their undergraduate education and work experience, students can acquire the knowledge, skills, and confidence to achieve goals that previously seemed out of reach.

Auburn University’s new online Forest Business and Investment, or FBI, Master of Science degree within the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment, or CFWE, is a non-thesis program collaboratively taught with Auburn University’s Raymond J. Harbert College of Business that enables students to succeed in the business, finance, and investment sectors of the fast-growing forest industry.

The FBI program provides a unique opportunity for individuals working in forestry to further their education while continuing to excel in their career. For Carter Crosby, a land management specialist, this feature was essential to his decision to enroll in the program. “I knew I couldn’t go back to school in a physical sense because it wasn’t possible for me to take a break from my career, but I was looking for something to give me an edge in the industry,” said Crosby.

Crosby has been working in forestry since graduating from Louisiana State University in 2014. He has lived on the West Coast for most of his career but recently moved back to the Southeast to be closer to family. “I had held a few different positions at various companies, and I felt like I would need to stay in the same positions for four, five, maybe six years to get to the management position I was hoping for within the next one or two years.”

After hearing about the FBI program from his father’s coworker, he decided this advanced education would push his career forward. “I wanted to catalyze my career and gain the knowledge needed to move up from a field forester, doing physical work in the woods, to break into the management side where I can be involved in those important decisions. I was interested in the impact of those decisions on the company’s finances, and I thought a degree like this would allow me to be considered for a management role that I think otherwise would’ve been unavailable for a few more years down the road,” said Crosby.

He feels that the degree has developed his vocabulary for the fiscal management side of the industry. “This knowledge is contributing to my value as an employee and has helped create a different perspective of my role in the company. I can offer an opinion to my employer and get involved in the conversation where I wouldn’t have been able to before.”

The online features of the program have allowed him to form a work, school, and life balance. “It has benefited my personal life unmistakably. Being able to take a test when it’s best for you or being able to watch lectures over the weekend or before work in the morning is really what makes it all possible,” said Crosby.

Staying on top of the workload and communicating with professors has especially helped him to succeed in the FBI program. “For each of the courses I’ve taken, the professors have always been available to me whether it be on Zoom calls or emails, even on the weekends.”

The integration of coursework into work life, and vice versa, has also benefited Crosby. “I use tools that I’ve gained from a class, especially while in the class, and then I try to take actual examples from my work life and use them in my schoolwork too. I feel like you learn more; you retain more of the information if you’re applying the skills or knowledge you’re learning that semester.”

Crosby feels confident the FBI program will help others like him within the industry. “I have already recommended this program to a colleague. I think it’s especially a promising opportunity if your employer is supportive because that goes a long way.”

“I’m grateful that it is working out in the way I hoped; this knowledge is allowing me to step up and take on more management-type roles and be involved with more what I call front office decisions that before were outside of my reach,” said Crosby.

To learn more about the online FBI master’s program, visit the CFWE website.

(Written by Avy Elmore)

Quick Facts

  • Non-thesis (no research, courses only)
  • Convenient, online courses
  • 31 credit hours required
  • No GRE required
  • Learn from expert faculty and industry leaders
  • Enrollment open spring and fall!

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