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Growing up in a small town in southeast Iowa, Kurt Power knew his environment didn’t match his needs. His hometown, with a population of 200, was home to farmers and manual laborers. He knew he wanted something different, but “just didn’t know the vehicle that would take me there.”

It all came to a head one summer during high school when Power tried working construction with his dad.

“He sent me home four hours into my first day,” Power said. “He said I wasn’t cut out for that kind of work and to go get an education.”

So he did, earning his bachelor’s in sports management at Iowa Wesleyan College in 2008. Now, Power is a national account manager for Think Realty, a company that provides tools and assistance to real estate professionals.

Power is always looking to advance his skills, and his personal drive led him back to school. He is earning his Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and is set to graduate in 2020.

“I felt the time was right at this point,” Power said. “I am the type of person that seeks out challenges as a way to improve myself and continue to grow. Challenging and investing in yourself with education is definitely among the most rewarding things you can do.”

Power looked at other programs, but felt immediately drawn to Baker.

“My recruiter, Dipti Bhakta, explained everything to me and outlined my program from start to finish,” Power said. “Whatever nervousness I had about the program was gone almost immediately.”

Just two classes into the program, Power feels like this is the place where he can succeed.

“It has truly been amazing,” he said. “The classes are very challenging and demanding, but it doesn’t feel like work. I am excited to get home every day to get to work on whatever is due that week. It has provided such a creative outlet for me to tap into that hasn’t been there since undergrad.”

The self-reflection involved with his classes has been Power’s favorite part of the program.

“I have and continue to gain a much better understanding of who I am and what I really want out of life,” he said. “While I can’t ignore what getting a master’s degree will do for me financially in my career, the real value is what it has done for me personally.”

While balancing work and school isn’t easy, Power advises people thinking about going back to school to dive in head first.

“The biggest thing is to just get started,” he said. “Once you get started and start to feel the changes in your life, it becomes very easy to get excited about whatever reading and assignments are due that week.”

Power said the effects of his efforts have been immediately noticed.

“It definitely changes the way people perceive you when they know that you are investing in yourself with higher education,” he said. “It speaks to a motivation level that anyone in these programs has. It is something that sets you apart from the rest. It teaches you how to think and consider other people’s opinions, which only puts you in a better position to succeed.”

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