In fifth grade, Mike Marshall got his first job as a paperboy for the New Albany Tribune. He’s worked in some form ever since — from part-time jobs throughout junior high and high school at a local Subway, Arby’s, and a small video rental store to a career in the non-profit sector after he graduated high school in 1997.

“As my career progressed, I remember making the argument of how the lack of a college education actually benefited me professionally, because it enabled me to earn several more years’ worth of experience than other people my age,” he said.

But when Marshall began to look for another job, his lack of an undergraduate degree limited his options.

“So many employers either made (an undergraduate degree) a nonnegotiable requirement or they would just discard any resume without some form of post-secondary education to help whittle down the pool of applicants,” Marshall said.

Marshall first became interested in Spalding University’s Adult Accelerated Program, which addresses the needs of adults who are going back to school to obtain their undergraduate degree. Spalding’s Adult Accelerated Program appealed to Marshall because he could earn a degree while continuing to work full time. Courses take place in six-week blocks called FLEX, and classes meet once a week in the evenings (there are also online-only classes, too). If work schedules or life events make it necessary for a student to take a session off, they are only delaying the completion of their degree by six weeks instead of an entire traditional semester.

Soon after Marshall became interested in attending Spalding, a position opened at the university in fundraising database management.

“I was blessed to be offered the position, and I enrolled in classes as soon as my one-year anniversary passed,” he said.

At first, he thought he would stick out in class because he was a working adult in his 30s rather than a young college student. But his classmates provided a pleasant surprise: Students had varying levels of professional experience, just like him.

‘There were people that had fairly high positions in well-known local companies that had, for a variety of reasons, waited until later in life to earn their degrees,” he said. “Most of my classes had people of ages ranging from the early 20s to early 60s.”

Marshall took more than 40 classes on the way to achieving his undergraduate degree. He enjoyed the variety of topics his courses covered, especially accounting. He also benefited from Spalding’s small class sizes.

“I appreciated that the most when I had questions or required further explanation on the topic,” he said.

In 2014, Marshall earned a Bachelor of Science degree in both Business Administration and Accounting from Spalding’s School of Business. He also graduated summa cum laude and received the “Henry Clary Award” for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

“The coursework helped me to understand the overall purpose for a lot of the responsibilities I had in the various positions I’ve held, making my work experience that much more valuable,” he said.

Marshall is now a financial analyst for Baptist Health.

“Since earning my degree I’ve also made it to a salary level that would not have been possible before,” he said.

For more information about Spalding University’s School of Business, which includes undergraduate and graduate programs, visit the school’s website.