Musician Erin LaPrad Finds Perfect Harmony in Online MBA in Management Program

According to Erin LaPrad, being a lifelong learner is essential to one’s well-being.

“Continuous education is important for everybody to become more complete and fulfilled,” she said. “In my work and my personal life, I am a curious person, a researcher.”

An itch to formalize her learning led LaPrad to enroll in the online Master of Business Administration in Management program at Fitchburg State University. She completed the program in March 2022 and will graduate in May.

“Going for an MBA — particularly in management — not only creates more opportunity for me in my career, but it gives me those transferable skills that can be applicable anywhere in life,” she said. “I wanted something that would be valuable to me currently and throughout the rest of my life.”

LaPrad is the program coordinator for Bridging Over to Right Opportunities (BORO) for the Westborough School District, near Worcester, Massachusetts. She also plays and sings in a band called According to Nancy.

“Flexibility in the program was key,” she said. “Being an adult with a full-time job and a family with competing responsibilities and demands for time, I was looking for an online program. It was important to me that the school I chose had a good reputation and a name and history to it.

“I wanted the program to be challenging and flexible enough to be doable. I was impressed with Fitchburg State’s curriculum and the ability to focus on management. I could tailor what I wanted to learn at a price that worked with my budget.”

In Tune

LaPrad grew up in Milford, Massachusetts, and began playing flute in elementary school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communications, Film and Television, from Boston University in 1999.

“I started playing guitar when I was 12 years old,” she said. “I’ve played music my whole life and am currently in a four-woman acoustic band. We do a lot of three-part harmony, mostly rock and pop. I am a big Rush and Foo Fighters fan.”

After teaching music and guitar lessons on the side, LaPrad moved into her current role prior to the pandemic. She especially enjoyed Organizational Behavior and Development as well as Management Theory and Process in the Fitchburg State program curriculum.

In her position, LaPrad works with neurodiverse young adults and teaches them vocational and life skills.

“We operate a retail candy store “learning lab” where our students learn fundamental transferrable work skills in an authentic business environment,” she said. “I decided to go for my MBA before I started this job. I didn’t know I was going to be running a small business — especially during a pandemic.

“I could apply every single class I took in the MBA program to my work. The way the curriculum and classes are laid out is really relevant and well-conceived.”

Some of the takeaways in the online MBA program made a strong impression on LaPrad.

“I love that every class had lessons that focused on ethical behavior,” she said. “In today’s world, people need reminders of how to be ethical and moral. Business leaders, in particular, should be trustworthy and good examples of proper behavior, so I appreciated the attention paid to those concepts.”

Taking Notes

Another big reason for LaPrad’s success in Fitchburg State’s online degree program is commitment and planning.

“You have to manage your time well in order to do it,” she said. “There was a lot of burning the candle at both ends, getting up before the kids and working, or getting up early on a weekend to bang out an assignment before anyone else was up.

“It is work and commitment, but it was very manageable — even having a full-time job and an accelerated program. It was a lot to do in a week. As long as you keep at it and manage the time well, it’s absolutely doable.”

Since enrolling at Fitchburg State in September 2019, LaPrad has received a lot of encouragement from her family and friends. She will be the first person in her immediate family to earn a master’s degree.

“I thank my two kids and my partner for their constant support,” she said. “They are excited for me. I owe so much to them. There are times when you’re so busy, but you keep your eye on the ball and get the support behind you. I will definitely walk at commencement. I am looking forward to it.”

Rock Solid

LaPrad considers the MBA degree a valuable addition to her academic credentials.

“The MBA will open doors for me in my day-to-day work as I manage program operations and work with our store manager on growing and promoting the business,” she said. ” People will look to me for that knowledge as we continue to expand the reach and impact of the BORO Program.  I also have a couple of other business ideas in the back of my brain.”

Improving the business landscape is high on LaPrad’s list of priorities for her career.

“I have become very passionate about the idea of inclusive employment,” she said. “There’s a lot of opportunity to educate business leaders on how much value hiring someone who is differently abled can add to their business.

“It’s good for the business and for the person — business leaders are becoming more conscious of that. I want to continue to further that truth.”

On the cusp of graduating from the online MBA in Management, LaPrad knows she made the right decision.

“I looked at programs all across the country, but it was a no-brainer when I found Fitchburg State,” she said. “It has that mix of flexibility, quality and affordability along with the reputation of the university. It was a high-value option.”

Learn more about Fitchburg State’s online MBA in Management program.

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