Reylon Ellis in Perfect Harmony with Online MBA from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

Published: February 17, 2017

Reylon Ellis in Perfect Harmony with Online MBA from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Being involved in the music industry will always be a hobby and passion for Reylon Ellis. In addition to music consulting in his free time, he’s about to produce a song for the first time in two years. Ellis co-owned a production company, Catalyst 01 Productions, in his hometown of Chicago until 2007. However, he lacked the business acumen he needed to continue to successfully run the company.

“If I would have known certain business concepts, like cost for customer acquisition and customer lifetime value, I could have stayed in business into infinity,” Ellis said. “I would have really known how much to spend for advertising. I would have known how much to allocate toward customer retention. That’s why I knew I needed a skill set.”

Nine years later, Ellis, who now lives in Dallas, has acquired that skill set after graduating from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi with an Online Master of Business Administration in December 2016.

“I went to A&M-Corpus Christi because of the A&M brand, and then I was like, ‘$12,000 for an MBA? I’m going to get my MBA,’” said Ellis.

Ellis attended Chicago State University for two-and-a-half years as a criminal justice major. After his father passed away, Ellis decided it was time for a change. He quit college to enlist in the Army.

“I was in a hardcore infantry unit,” Ellis said with a laugh. “Sweating in that desert made me realize, ‘You know what? I need to finish my degree.’”

That’s exactly what he did. After four years of service, Ellis returned to Chicago State and completed a Bachelor of Science of Criminal Justice in 2003. However, by then, he had lost interest in that career field and had also shuttered his music side gig.

Ellis relocated to Texas a few years ago after visiting his brother, Alonzo, who had already taken up residence in the Lone Star State.

“After visiting Texas, I fell in love with it,” he said. “My kids love it. The cost of living is better. It was a no brainer.”

Once Ellis finally decided to go back to school, the Online Master of Business Administration program at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi ended up being ideal for him because he could balance the coursework with a full-time job and his family.

 “Some of the theory-based courses, like leadership and entrepreneurship came natural, so I probably spent about six hours a week on them unless it was an exam week,” Ellis said. “It was accounting, finance and operations management that you really had to know that material. I won’t say they were unreasonably difficult, but they had a high level of difficulty.”

But Ellis also thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the latter courses, which he believes made his degree well-rounded.

“It’s a commitment to see it through,” he said. “You have courses where you literally have no hair anymore, but you’re earning it. There’s a reason why you’re going to this school. There’s a reason why you want the brand and the AACSB accreditation.”

Entrepreneurship [MGMT 5350] was Ellis’s favorite course.

“The course exposed different ways of thinking to say, ‘If the market doesn’t really have a lot of openings for restaurants, that doesn’t mean you can’t be in the restaurant industry. You may be able to use a strategy and find a whole new area,” he said. “It changed my hubris, to look deeper. To say, ‘Let me look at it more scientifically, let me do some more research and not let my passion drive me into the ground.’”

Another benefit of earning an MBA online was for Ellis to show his children – Tyra, age 12, and Jalen, age 10, the importance of higher education.

“An online degree is not going to stop you from being able to spend time with your spouse or your kids,” Ellis said. “It actually changes the dynamic in a positive way.”

Ellis, who has been married to his wife Natasha for 14 years, was glad he and his family made the trip from Dallas to Corpus Christi for commencement.

“It was fun,” he said. “My kids were real excited for the achievement. But what I also loved was my daughter was like, ‘Oh, I want to go to college.’ It inspires. Everything I do is for them.”

To learn more about the Online MBA at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, go to http://online.tamucc.edu/programs/master-business-administration.aspx.