“Set a goal and get it done.” That Marine mentality helped Eric Hanson not only serve his country with honor, but it also let him earn his bachelor’s degree in just two-and-a-half years—well ahead of the typically four-year timeline. The former Corporal is graduating from Peirce College this month with his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and concentration in Management.
We had the opportunity to talk to Eric about his decision to go to school after serving 4 years in the Marines and coming home to Philadelphia. In our interview, we learned what his experience was like and how he managed the transition from the military to the classroom.
Why did you decide to go to college after serving in the Marines?
It was always one of my goals. I thought about it early in life but it became reality after my military training and service. About five or six months after I finished my service, I started at Peirce.
What was the process like for you to enroll in college after the military?
The process went really well. The military representative at Peirce was really helpful. She went over my benefits, scheduled my classes, and guided me along the way.
How were you able to complete your degree in just two-and-a-half years?
One of the good things about Peirce is that I was able to come in with 27 credits from my military experience. That’s something other schools don’t do. So I had 93 credits left to earn, which normally takes about three-and-a-half years. I wanted to get it done faster, so I took five classes every semester—usually four on campus and one online. I also took classes in the summer.
What do you hope to do with your bachelor’s degree?
I’m planning to go into finance or accounting. I’ll be pursuing my Master’s degree starting in the fall.
What was it like to transition from the Marines to college?
The great thing about Peirce when transitioning from the military is that classes are small. You’re engaged the entire time. I don’t think I had a class that was over 20 people. It was easy to ask questions as you go along and stay on top of everything. That was something they stressed in the military—work in teams and stay on top of everything as much as you can.
What was your degree program like at Peirce?
I learned a lot in many areas. My degree program touched on everything—finance, accounting, statistics. In group projects, I was able to learn from students who are working in the business field. That’s another good thing about Peirce. You can learn from each other—students, instructors.
What were some of the most memorable parts of your Peirce experience?
The fact that it is a smaller school. I think it enhances your ability to learn. That was huge for me. People are there to learn and work hard. The professors hit home for me. They were really helpful and relatable. They can relate to living a busy lifestyle, juggling different things, and making it happen.
Did you have a favorite professor at Peirce?
I liked all my professors, but the one who sticks out the most for me is Professor Nick Wernicki. His philosophy class made me think differently—not just about philosophy, but about how to think intuitively and outside the box.
How do you think your military experience help you succeed at Peirce?
My experience helped me a lot. I remained disciplined with others things in my life—work, family. Setting timelines, meeting goals, attending classes. I set a goal and got it done.
What words of encouragement would you offer others who may be reading this?
I am the first in my family to earn a college degree and all it took was believing in myself and putting in the work. It is important to push through when times are tough or things get hard and to never give up. I encourage anyone to take the first step in whatever they're passionate about and always see it through to the end. In doing so, you will almost always find new talents along the way that you never knew you had. Don't let fear of failure or doubt scare you away from doing something great and achieving your goals!
***Congratulations on earning your bachelor’s degree, Eric, and thank you for your service to our country! We’re looking forward to seeing where your future takes you.