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Degree Gave Tech CEO The 'Power' To Energize San Francisco

Nic Stover is the CEO of CalCom Solar. The company focuses on large-scale solar energy projects for agriculture and water districts in California. Stover leads the small company in all aspects from sales, to proposals/contracts, to engineering/designing the systems, construction of the systems and ongoing operations and maintenance of the installed systems.

(Photo Courtesy of Nic Stover)

Why did you pursue a master's degree?

"I was working as a director for a publicly traded company and had a solid job that paid well, but I knew that if I didn't further my education I would stagnate in my career or by typecast as just a 'sales guy.' I also suspected that my instincts were good, but that I need better business tools to be able to back recommendations or trends. Finally, I didn't want to reach a point in time in my career where there was an opportunity that I was unable to pursue, as I didn't have the educational background to take on the opportunity."

What would you tell someone who is considering returning to school to earn a master's degree?

"Make sure you know ahead of time what you want to get out of your time in school. I have a friend who is in marketing and doesn't ever want to get out of marketing and a Master's of Business Administration has limited value to him. I also had classmates that were there just to get the degree to either check a box or to see if they could find direction from the degree. The people without a clear focus were the ones that struggled the most and have seen the least amount of progress since obtaining their degree."

What was the biggest challenge you faced when pursuing your master's degree?

"Keeping it all balanced. It was a huge time commitment to keep work and personal and school balanced, but I tried to take one day off a week from both work and school and spend it with my wife. This allowed her to not feel like an "MBA Widow" and also helped me to have the mental breaks that were needed from time to time."

What was the biggest reward for earning the master's degree?

"The way that I can evaluate new business opportunities or understand how to put framework around a problem or challenge is very valuable. I can say with complete certainty that every day I put something from my MBA to work in my day-to-day business. The financial return that I have seen is incredible both for me, but also within my company.  Some of the lessons I learned in classes translated into instant savings by negotiating a new contract, keeping employee turnover low and attracting and developing some of the top talent in the industry."

Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and enlighten others about culture. You can find her work at 

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