OBC Alumni Spotlight: Joseph Chaplin
Posted on May 16, 2017
Written by Morgan O'Rourke
Stepping out into the workforce as a business professional is exciting and incredibly rewarding. To start on the best foot possible and begin your career as an in-demand individual with essential business and professional skills and knowledge, a top-rated degree can help you start your dream career.
Joseph Chaplin, a graduate of OBC’s associate degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting, is thriving in his career, and it all started at Ohio Business College. Read about Joseph Chaplin’s time at OBC, and see what he’s up to now:
- Why did you decide to continue your education at Ohio Business College?
I chose Ohio Business College because I was already working full time in the financial field. I really liked the flexibility that OBC offered to earn an associate’s degree and balance the demands of a full-time job.
- Why did you enroll in the Accounting and Business Administration Programs?
I originally enrolled in the accounting program because I envision myself owning my own business in the future. I wanted to receive a solid base in accounting because I felt it critical to understand the accounting process and how to check my own books for accuracy. Mr. Tom from the Sandusky campus and Dale Kirsch from the Sheffield campus did a great job of teaching not only the skills necessary to understand accounting, but they also demonstrated why the accounting process is critical in every aspect of business. As I continue to grow in my field, I have found this to be an even deeper and more valuable truth. It is something that has helped me excel.
In my final year at OBC, Jan Sedley had asked me to consider a new program that combined both accounting and business administration degrees into one dual-purpose degree. She told me that I would be more marketable with this degree, and recommended this path because of the goals that I had voiced to her. I am happy to say that I took her good advice. Having a dual functioning degree such as an associates in business administration and accounting, has given me the tools and knowledge necessary to thrive in my field.
- What have been your favorite things about the Accounting and Business Administration Programs?
I liked best that the instruction was of sound and practical application. I feel that I am at an advantage over other people in my field who may have attained a 2-year associates degree from a traditional college. I have been able to utilize most of my study in a practical business setting. In each of my classes, I was not only instructed on the subject matter, but also how to apply the subject matter to advance myself in my field.
Many of my instructors had a direct business background in the field that they were teaching. Some were presently balancing time between those fields to instruct a class. I not only learned the subject matter, but direct practical examples from professionals in that given field.
All of my instructors were truly my favorite part of OBC. They really care about their students on an individual basis. They do a fine job of conveying the importance of learning and how to use knowledge for advancement.
- What was the most difficult or challenging thing about these programs?
The time commitment for me was difficult. I was never the most punctual of students. I missed a lot of classes due to balancing my time appropriately between a full time job and full time school. In a few quarters, I had to scale back to part time school because of work and personal commitments.
Because OBC is a small school, your instructors notice when you are not in class. It’s a very personal atmosphere. Your instructors value your feedback and you become an intimate part of that class setting. You are missed when you are not there. It was hard for me to miss a class even though sometimes I had no choice.
If I could do it all over again, I would love to be able to have been present for every moment of every class. Even though my instructors did an excellent job of bringing me up to speed and were understanding and flexible with my work commitments, I really can’t stress enough the importance of being in class as much as possible as the best option.
- How did Ohio Business College help you succeed in your studies and accomplish your goals?
OBC provided to me a direct competitive advantage in the marketplace. They not only trained and equipped me with skills applicable to the industry I am in now, but OBC also takes a personal interest in each student and wants to see everyone be successful. I never felt like just a graduate number or statistic at OBC. I was a person with a story, continually posed with the question of how OBC could help me arrive at where I wanted to be.
A few examples of the quality of my education and the type of unique learning experiences are:
- Learning business law and government from an instructor that worked for the US Department of Justice
- Learning English from an experienced editor
- Learning global business from an executive in charge of staff housing for a multibillion dollar global corporation
- Learning human resource management from the same person that handled my interview process for a job I held and had great success with for 6 years
OBC has provided excellence in education from top notch professionals who teach what you need to know for success from experience.
- Tell us about your externship.
My externship was a little unique. I completed my externship at two different locations. I requested this because I wanted to experience what it was like to apply my skills in a small private business setting as well as a larger nonprofit organization. OBC was very accommodating to my request.
For the first site, I worked with a previous OBC graduate who was working as an office manager at a successful small, privately owned cleaning business called Service Master of Sandusky. I learned hands on how to apply the accounting and business administration skills that I learned at OBC from someone who had found success in their field after OBC. This gave me a lot of confidence that there were good opportunities out there for OBC graduates that apply themselves and their acquired knowledge to their given field.
My second site was the billing department for the Nord Center of Lorain County. Here, I learned how to apply my skill set to a nonprofit organization. I was working hands on with data entry, data verification, and billing through insurance companies, private and government grants, Medicare and Medicaid for a major nonprofit organization offering psychological community outreach and social services to Lorain County. The externship was exciting and really allowed me to sharpen my newly acquired business tools to get ready to enter the competitive job market.
- Do you have a favorite memory about attending OBC? If so, what is it?
I have many fond memories of OBC. It is hard to choose just one. The graduation ceremony and finally receiving reward and recognition alongside my peers was amazing. Besides that, my fondest memories revolved around the personal interest that my instructors took in me and the conversations before and after class that I had with them.
Everyone was very open to talking with me on a personal level. Whether it was expounding on the subject matter or, in many cases, just asking how I am doing. It was a blessing to have such a caring group of teachers and staff who were open to me on an academic and personal level.
When I shook all of their hands at graduation, I was almost in tears because I really grew to know each of them as an individual. I felt that they truly cared and were all individually proud of my accomplishment that they all played a part in.
- What do you think sets OBC apart from the other career education schools?
The quality of the instructors is the main advantage that OBC has. OBC has been providing career focused education for over 100 years. It is apparent they have been able to master the ability to profile and hire the best available instructors with real and practical experience.
I like that OBC really listened to their students and our feedback was important. It is no wonder now why it was a requirement to have all the student body give an evaluation of each class and the school as a whole each quarter. When Jan Sedley would come and find me and say, “Joe, you need to complete your survey,” I now know it was because the school valued my opinion and wanted to ensure that my individual needs were being met.
The personal class setting is a great advantage over other college options, too. It allows for a student to get involved, ask questions, give feedback, and – instead of just taking in a lecture – become an interactive part of the instruction. Learning becomes more proactive and tailored to the individual needs of the students instead of group marginalized.
- What are you up to now?
I am working for United Consumer Financial Services out of Westlake, Ohio. It is a consumer lending organization offering retail installment financing for many different products and services. I am a certified Loan Underwriter and Senior Loan Processing Liaison responsible for handling loan buying, loan processing, operations, and direct customer support for the new business and business growth sector of my company. This was an opportunity that I discovered through a career fair held at Ohio Business College.
I chose this career path because of the great opportunities for stability and potential for personal growth that were available. I am very happy in my new career and have been able to set myself apart as a top performer.
I am currently involved with many different projects that are critical to the direct growth of our business and am also in training for management level responsibilities.
I strongly believe that all of this would have not been possible had I not started my journey with OBC. They have given me a head start and helped me set myself up for immediate success by strengthening my education portfolio. I am making plans to go back to school in the fall of 2017 to ultimately pursue an MBA.
- What advice or tips do you have for prospective and current OBC Accounting and Business students?
The best advice that I can offer to prospective students is to seriously consider the advantages that a smaller business-focused college can offer over a larger, less business-focused college. When I was considering OBC as an option to advance myself, I was drawn to how up front and honest they were in the recruitment.
I was told that OBC is not a college that is looking to enrich my life. I was also told that OBC is not for everyone. If I was looking for a college that was going to increase my appreciation for the arts or if I was looking for a college where I could take a bunch of extracurricular classes for credit that this was not the place for me.
They instead told me that they were looking to provide me with real career opportunities and prepare me to advance in that real career. That was exactly what I was looking for and that’s exactly what I received. I encourage all prospective students of OBC to consider OBC if they are looking for an opportunity to advance in the field that they desire.
Also, prepare yourself to learn in a way, that in hindsight, you look back and see just how relevant the information you learned is to the current professional field that you will find yourself in after college.
To current students, I encourage you to stay involved in OBC. Get to know your staff and faculty on a personal level. Many of them have other jobs that they work full time or part time, but they come to OBC because they have a passion to see students like me and you have success.
As a graduate, I know at times it’s not easy to balance school with adult life, other careers, and parenting responsibilities. Some of you feel like you are just not going to make it. I know because I have been there before. Reach out to your teachers. They really care about you. They will work with you like they did me to get you to the finish line and see you off on your personal path to success.
My final piece of advice to all current students no matter what field of study you are in, is to find a way to help other students out. This makes the OBC experience much better and you really can make a difference in someone else’s life by partnering with your student body and being open to helping others around you succeed. Success is available in full force to those who would reach for it. Fellow OBC students, I wish you all the best.
Take your next professional steps at Ohio Business College. Learn more about OBC’s associate degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting.