MBA students rely on and derive strength from some kind of a support system when going through the rigorous program, and especially when balancing a full-time job and classes.

Husband and wife, Rick MBA ’07 and Laura MBA ’01 Thornton are no exception to this rule.  Laura, who received her degree six years ahead of Rick, was instrumental in Rick’s decision to go back and pursue his MBA.

“Laura was a big influence. I got to experience [The Richmond MBA] program secondhand through her before I applied,” said Rick who currently serves as Vice President of Audience and Content Development at Richmond Media Group.

Apart from Laura’s influence, the opening residency and international residency requirements were key differentiators in Rick’s decision to apply to The Richmond MBA program.

Rick also recalls the friendly competition that ensued when he was preparing for the GMAT: “We’re pretty competitive. I studied like mad for the GMAT in an effort to beat her score.”

After being accepted into The Richmond MBA program and when he was in the thick of juggling classes and a full-time career, Rick remembers how supportive his wife was.

“She was a huge source of support during my MBA experience. We had our first and only son right around the time I started. There were a lot of nights and weekends where she was on her own with Drew while I studied. I can’t thank you enough, Laura.”

Another bond that the Thorntons have is why they decided to pursue their MBA degrees.  Laura, who is currently the director of ephilanthropy and Marketing for ChildFund International, decided to go back to school to enhance her project management skill set.

“I wanted to further my education, without leaving the company where I worked.  I was an analyst at a growing and exciting direct response agency, Response Marketing Group, and wanted to learn how to bring more strategic value to projects,” she recalled.

According to Rick, The Richmond MBA helped him to diversify his professional skill-set as well. 
“[The Richmond MBA] helped open some doors that might not have otherwise. It allowed me to go beyond my immediate discipline.”

Both Rick and Laura found the part-time MBA program helpful in advancing their careers while allowing them to still work.  Their mutual passion for their respective lines of work is obvious.It’s exciting to meet sponsors who have helped be a part of a child growing up healthy and confident.”

Rick loves that each day in the office brings a new challenge.

“It’s an adventure. I never know what to expect. It’s not a 9 to 5 job. For example, during the recent NCAA tournament, when Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond were making their runs, we worked nonstop for two weeks. We wound up doing all sorts of creative things online and in print. We even published a book on VCU’s trip to the Final Four.”

While it is apparent that both Laura and Rick have worked incredibly hard in their graduate studies and their careers, Rick does not attribute all of his success to just hard work. 

“While hard work pays off, there has to be some luck involved, too. I was lucky to work in a town with a great part-time MBA program. I’ve been lucky to work with people who are extremely bright, talented and inspiring. They’ve helped me grow professionally and as a person.”

Rick also considers himself lucky to have his family as a part of the support system that is so often influential in an MBA student’s success. 

“And I’m lucky to have a supportive family who adds joy to my life. Never underestimate the power of being lucky. It certainly is a big part of my story.”