Ollie Ivy '11

Portrait of Ollie Ivy

“You can never have too much education,” he says. “Education is a continuing improvement process.”

Ollie Ivy learned something about leadership, rigor, and being the best of the best during 20 years in the Marine Corps. He spent two of those years as a drill instructor at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego. Picture actor Lou Gossett, Jr. as the tough gunnery sergeant in the 1982 movie An Officer and a Gentleman. “That was me,” Ivy says.

So it was only natural that when he decided to pursue a mid-career MBA, Ivy wanted his school to be among the best.

“Redlands was my first choice,” he said. “Redlands is among the top 10 in the rankings; that said something. I wanted my degree to say something. Employers look at it, businesses look at it, and they want the best of the best.”

Ivy retired from the Marine Corps in 2006 with numerous commendations and medals, including a meritorious service medal for excellence throughout his two decades of service. As a member of the military serving after 9-11 he qualified for the federal government’s Yellow Ribbon Program, which Redlands participates in as a military-friendly school. In the Yellow Ribbon Program, private colleges and universities partner with the Veterans Administration to fund a portion of the qualifying veteran’s tuition costs – allowing service men and women to attend graduate, private or out-of-state institutions.

Along the way Ivy earned an undergraduate degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and a masters degree in finance and administration from Central Michigan University. He and his wife Marlonia also began a family, and Ivy shares the responsibility for raising their three daughters, now 15, 10 and 6 years old.

For the last four years Ivy worked in aerospace manufacturing, and has been in the Redlands MBA program for the last two. He quit his job in December to concentrate full time on his degree, which he’ll finish in June 2011. He said the MBA program has him fired up to go out there and embrace change.

“A lot of people want to rest on their laurels instead of pushing the envelope,” he said. “The Redlands MBA program has opened my eyes to having the gumption to change if need be and the risks a manager needs to make.”

So what’s next? Ivy and his family will soon be moving to Arizona, where he’s purchased a house and is considering entering into politics. Or perhaps another degree.

“You can never have too much education,” he says. “Education is a continuing improvement process.”

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