Alumni Stories: Stephen Dopp

Close up of a CSU branded tassle hanging from a graduation cap.
Category: Success Stories

Posted on July 25, 2017

Stephen Dopp earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Columbia Southern University in 2015. Once a financial services employee, Dopp found himself in a situation familiar to many adult learners: he was at a dead-end in his career.

“I had gotten my first job prior to graduating college when I was 24 years old,” Stephen said. “Because I already had a job in the field that I was aspiring to pursue, I lost the motivation to finish school. After nearly eight years, I realized that I needed the degree to expand my career path further.”

And that’s exactly what he did. Working full-time with a 10-month-old son and a pregnant wife at home, Stephen spent much of his time researching and vetting different programs and universities, both online and traditional. He ultimately chose CSU for the convenience, cost and the “boutique-like communal feel.”

“I did the ‘work at your own pace program’ [LifePace]* which allowed me to bury myself in the library every weekend and fast-track myself to the finish line. I am not sure in a brick-and-mortar school, I would have the same flexibility,” Stephen said.

Now, Stephen is the director of the strategic relationship group at Lord, Abbett & Company, a top-20 national investment management firm. He interviewed for the position days after wrapping up his last courses.

“A bachelor's degree is a barrier to entry in many cases for top-level employers. I had all of the requisite skills and experience to qualify for a high-level position, but without a degree, I would not have been able continue to evolve my career.”

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*The LifePace Learning® option is not eligible for Federal Student Aid, VA funding or doctoral programs.

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