John Crawford Davis

After 20 years of working as a successful entrepreneur and Client Services Leader in the corporate world, John Crawford Davis was intent on pursuing credentials in higher education. At age 46, he had an abundance of that resume-builder material known as real-world experience, but he lacked formal education in business principles and communications. He approached the University of Minnesota with a “get this done” mentality.

With that strong motivation to take the fast track for earning his bachelor’s degree, Davis met with U of M individualized degree adviser Karolyn Redoute (retired) and came out of the meeting certain that he wanted to enroll in the Multidisciplinary Studies (MdS) program for his bachelor’s.

“But Karolyn told me she couldn’t admit me to the program without transferrable credits (a two-year Associate of Arts (AA) degree from a community college), which would make me eligible for enrollment in the MdS program,” Davis remembers. “So, I quickly did that. I maxed out my credits and earned my AA in two semesters and a summer term, coming out the other side with high distinction honors and a 4.0 GPA. I showed up in Karolyn’s office and asked, ‘Will you admit me now?’ I think she was probably a little surprised by my drive!”

Davis graduated in May of 2016. We sat down with him to learn a little bit about his experience in the MdS program, and to find out what his next fast-track goal is.

CCAPS: What drew you to the MdS program for your undergraduate degree?

JCD: I appreciated the possibility to pursue multiple themes of interest within the degree. I wasn’t limited to a single discipline. As an extremely curious person, I am invigorated by learning. If I could have any superpower, it would be to walk into a library and instantly absorb every bit of knowledge from the books within.

CCAPS: What are your areas of concentration within the degree?

JCD: My areas of study include the disciplines of History and Social Sciences; Communications; and Applied, Technical, and Professional, accompanied by an upper-division course in statistics. My interests coalesce around business, specifically business management, which resides in the Applied, Technical, and Professional category of my MdS degree.

For my entire working life, business has been my profession. It seems natural that my inquisitiveness towards this field would be deep, as I seek to explore the theory behind so many experiences I’ve had in my working life. Through my coursework, I’m learning how I may improve my skills to attain ever-greater levels of success in my profession.

CCAPS: What were your classes like?

JCD: My classes were a mix of in-person and online. I appreciated that because it allowed me to multiplex my time and accomplish more.

CCAPS: How has the MdS degree changed your outlook?

JCD: It deepened my understanding of the world, mostly through the rich literature we studied. I absorbed every moment of that.

CCAPS: What are your plans now that you’ve graduated?

JCD: I wanted to complete my BS so I could move on to a graduate program at the U. I’m on a mission! Now I am in the Carlson School of Management Executive MBA program. I am thinking about getting my PhD in Business Administration—a degree that would direct me to teaching, which is a strong interest of mine. I’m also considering my JD or perhaps even another master’s degree.

CCAPS: Anything else you’d like to share about your experience in the MdS program?

JCD: I just want to say that my adviser and MdS professor, Karolyn Redoute, was simply amazing. The way she facilitated our exploration and learning, both within the classroom and within ourselves, was truly impactful.