Wednesday, August 24, 2011

So you think your office is a zoo? Meet Karl Fritz

Peirce College graduate Karl Fritz at the Philadelphia Zoo
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! For Peirce graduate Karl Fritz, who was recently promoted to Director of Business Operations at the Philadelphia Zoo, that’s just another day at the office.

Before he earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in management from Peirce College in 2006, Karl was a good example of a person who had a lot of potential, but lacked the credentials needed to move up in an organization. He recognized that without a bachelor’s degree, his options in the corporate world were limited.

In 2001, Karl had the opportunity to join the Philadelphia Zoo’s management team in an entry-level position. He worked with his supervisor to develop a professional development plan. After getting a few years of experience under his belt, Karl wanted to pursue his degree in order to excel in his career and make the next step, and the step after that, and the step after that.

Beyond his career goals, Karl also wanted to be the first college graduate in his family and set the stage for future generations, a tribute to the many sacrifices his parents made for him over the years.

Karl took the next step in 2003 and started working towards his bachelor’s degree. He had heard of Peirce but was not too familiar with the programs offered by the College. The deeper he dug, the more he learned about the breadth of programs and services available, the flexible schedules, online courses, and the College’s focus on providing an educational experience tailored to the needs of working adult learners.

Those are the reasons why Karl says he decided to enroll at Peirce. As a working adult with a full-time job, Karl looked for a program that would help him complete his degree in a reasonable period of time. He found that supportive environment at Peirce, where he completed the majority of his classes on campus in the evening.

According to Karl, his degree not only gave him the credentials he needed to move ahead in his career, but transformed him into a well-rounded businessperson. He credits his professors at Peirce for instilling in him the virtues of leadership, organization, and teamwork. When applied to his career, these qualities have allowed Karl to achieve success and demonstrate the ability to take on additional responsibilities within his organization -- all stepping stones to the position he holds today!

Another part of the experience that stood out to Karl was the exposure to faculty who brought a balance of theory and real-life experience to the classroom. They were able to share experiences from their own professional backgrounds and teach not only the theory, but also how to apply that theory in a real business situation.

Karl says that while the real-life experience was great, it was his education that really gave him the foundation of his career. He was able to understand the theory behind different applications of business, and then use that understanding for problem solving at a higher level.

So what piece of wisdom would one successful Peirce graduate want to impart on others who might be toying with the idea of going back to school?

“My hope is that someone who is considering college, whether a working adult or someone young, will see that it is not impossible to get your degree, regardless of your situation,” says Karl. “Whether you are working full time, have a family, or have other circumstances, it is not impossible. The only limitations you have are the ones you put on yourself.”

Karl wants all of you adult learners to know that you can do this.