Get to know Grand Rapids (and the world)

Brian DiVita, director of Graduate Management Programs at Aquinas College

Brian DiVita believes in a fairly simple truth in life. There are two paths in life, standard of living or quality of life.

One is picking a path that will allow for fancy living with nice cars and a big house, even nice, long relaxing vacations. The other is a life that allows for amazing experiences and a lot of feeling of fulfillment.

The paths do intersect sometimes, and eventually a nice harmony exists when you settle into a life. But the choices you make early on greatly effect which way the life will lean.

If you seek a standard of living, it’s often accompanied by long hours, little time for family and stressful travel or assignments.

His position at Aquinas College was one of strategic life planning. He began teaching in Grad School in 1993.

“My father was a professor, so I saw a lot of the value and upside of the position,” DiVita said. “I saw at an early age the role and impact you can have on people.”

Still, he entered the corporate world — still teaching an adjunct position – with a company he founded and eventually sold.

He saw the world through the eyes of someone racing for a standard of living. But now, he says he couldn’t imagine it without the quality of life being a professor allows. He has time now, for his two young children.

He said his previous career, a consulting firm, he’d be called at 10 p.m. for a meeting in Manhattan at 11 a.m.

“We only have so much time to do things in life,” he said. “It’s very rewarding to see where people are and to help them set and accomplish goals. Sometimes I miss it, but I don’t have regrets.”

Students from 15 years ago still send DiVita letters and post cards, thanking him for his help and guidance through life.

Speaking of guidance

I also chatted with DiVita about the possibility of Grad School. He was helpful, going through the goals and reasons to do it. Or not to. Even at the end, he said if I ever needed help, or just someone to chat with, he’s available for lunch or coffee.

There are six goals Aquinas wants to accomplish with the degree:

  1. Research, analyse and indentify management issues. 
  2. Think critically
  3. Strategic planning
  4. Manage decicively 
  5. Communicate successfully
  6. Lead successfully 

The college’s two programs, Master of Management (MM) and Master of Sustainable Business (MSB) are almost misnomers. They’re a well-defined pair of programs that help students become well-rounded business people.

DiVita said they’re similar to an MBA, which hasn’t always been the case. For a while, MMs were social, where MBAs are analytical and number crunchers. Now, they both come toward the middle. Some, like Northwestern’s MM have turned into an MBA.

There are three main reasons the students go back to get a masters:

  1. Personal growth
  2. Professional expectation
  3. Personal retooling

 

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