Older, wiser, “greener”

At 52 years of age, Walter “Bubba” Mullen was a bit older than most of his MBA classmates. A bit older – but even more eager to learn, grow, and challenge himself.

“I believe that if you’re green, you grow; if you’re ripe, you rot,” he says. “I knew that pursuing an advanced degree would keep me ‘green’ a lot longer.”

Mullen, who now serves as Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Alfa Vision Insurance, was heading up the two largest global Information Systems projects at Nissan North America when he first heard about Bethel in early 2013. Despite his unrelenting responsibilities and years away from school, he made up his mind to tackle the MBA program. Just 18 months later, he earned his graduate degree.

“My MBA experience at Bethel was fantastic,” he says today. “First, I loved the fact that it was a conservative Christian school with a challenging curriculum. As I began to compare different programs, I knew I didn’t want to just send off a check and get a diploma – I wanted to really learn something. Bethel was highly rated, cost-effective, and I could complete the classwork at the pace I wanted to. With one class every eight weeks, it was fast but focused.”

He also liked the fact that Bethel grad students never shared team projects. “Knowing my personality, I would have tried to do the work of the entire team,” he laughs.

Along the way, the program also reinforced his own desire to become a teacher. “Of course, I wanted to learn better practices in management, but I also wanted to learn to be an effective instructor,” he says. “The best teachers taught me how to really reach students. I still communicate with some of my Bethel professors to this day.”

Mullen’s goal is to eventually leave the private sector, and begin teaching at a local community college.

“I believe we were put on this earth to give back. I want to share with students some of the scars I’ve gotten along the way,” he says. “I’ve worked for a lot of large corporations, and if I can keep someone from getting the scars I’ve got, that would be a really good thing.”

Looking back, Mullen said the MBA program taught him to look at familiar things … differently.

“If you’ve been in a career for 30 years, as I have, you tend to forget a lot, or stick to what you already know well. Earning a graduate degree at Bethel forced me out of my comfort zone, and allowed me to continue to grow.”

Bubba Mullen lives in Brentwood with his wife of 29 years and their daughters, aged 20 and 23.

Walter “Bubba” Mullen

Master of Business Administartion – Class of 2014

VP and CIO, Alfa Specialty and Afla Vision Insurance

If you have a Bethel Success Story to share, or want to comment on a current story, please contact Cindy Chambers at chambersc@bethelu.edu. We’d love to hear how your educational journey — or those of others — have impacted your life!