Michael Lynch

Michael Lynch works toward Ph.D. in distance student program

When Michael began working toward his master of business administration at Louisiana State University, he was encouraged by his adviser to earn his Ph.D. as well. After graduation with his M.B.A. in 1996, he was immediately offered a teaching position and worked as a professor for the next 20 years.

Michael applied to several Ph.D. programs but turned many of them down until Iowa State University.

“I turned them down because I would have to give up my life and lifestyle and couldn’t stay in the industry,” he said. “With the program at Iowa State, I could complete my Ph.D. while still doing what I enjoy.”

Michael is a professor at DePaul University, a first-year doctoral student at Iowa State, and works in the hospitality industry.

“It’s a challenge, but it’s worth it,” he said. “Being at Iowa State allows me to immediately put what I am learning into practice.”

While Michael is seldom on Iowa State’s campus, he said he finds the level of excitement, anticipation, and hope on campus refreshing.

“As a distance student, I wish I would have known about the vitality of the campus. I might have considered being a full-time student,” he said.

Although he sees the value of being a full-time on-campus student, he knows the distance program was the perfect fit for him so he could continue his life as it already was while also pursuing his degree.

“Time management is the hardest,” he said. “I’m like Dory. I keep on swimming. You keep moving and moving forward. It’s a huge time commitment but you have to prioritize, keep moving forward, and believe it’s worth it.”

The vast array of where the other students in Michael’s program are from gives him the opportunity to expand his connections in numerous areas. All professors from Hawaii and Florida to Utah and Arkansas, Michael is surrounded by other students in situations similar to him.

“The university experience is as much about what you learn as who you interact with,” he said. “Even in distance, make sure to make those connections and set up a network of contacts.”