How did Drury prepare you for life after college?
What advice would you give a new Drury student?
What has been one highlight of your career so far?
While he was a student at Drury in the late 1980s, graduate Bret McGowne didn't necessarily understand how classes like art, history, science, - even weaving! - would help him reach his ultimate goal of owning a business. Now the business owner he always dreamed of being, Bret realizes just how much of an impact that liberal arts education from Drury has had on his career.
"In my life as a manager for a major insurance carrier, I used my liberal arts education to manage people, streamline processes and maximize limited resources," Bret says. "Now, as a business owner, I analyze accounting reports, implement marketing processes and negotiate terms with vendors and customers. A narrowly focused degree wouldn’t have given me the variety of skills I need to complete these tasks."
Working Toward a Dream
While Bret graduated with degrees in economics and business administration, that doesn't mean he didn't branch out to take advantage of the many other courses Drury offered. In fact, he even took a weaving class, and lists as one of his favorite memories the surprised look on his mother's face when he presented her with placemats he'd weaved in class.
But that moment wasn't his proudest. Instead, it was the day Bret received his diplomas that marked his dream of completing college accomplished.
"Probably my best memory though, is the pride on my parents’ faces when I became the first in our family to graduate college," Bret recalls. " I won’t ever forget that"
Applying the Liberal Arts Background to Business
Immediately upon graduation, Bret began work in the corporate world, using the skills he'd learned in all of his classes to advance his career.
"Drury teaches you to think and how to evaluate information critically," he says. "I really learned to look for, and then examine, all sides of an issue. That skill makes you a better negotiator and gives you the empathy you need when dealing with employee issues. Drury really helped me to make better decisions in my personal and professional life."
Eventually, Bret's dream of owning his own business and being his own boss came true when he purchased franchises of Renew Crew in Springfield and Branson. In that role, he must act in every capacity, from Chief Financial Officer to janitor, and everything in between. And Bret says that his well-rounded education at Drury truly prepared him for those challenges.
"At the time I was attending school, I don’t think I really understood what a liberal arts education meant," he says. "I didn’t understand why a business student had to take all these classes in science, art, history and English. It wasn’t until I was working in the “real world” that I came to understand that someone with a well-rounded education is simply better prepared to deal with the complex issues that people deal with everyday.
"You can find facts, figures and procedures on almost any topic today with a simple Google search, but a Drury grad with a liberal arts education will know how to assemble those facts, analyze them, and then act on them. The liberal arts foundation you are building will prepare you for anything life throws at you!"