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Darel Ison
Account Consultant, Hitachi Data Systems

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Darel Ison began taking general education courses toward the end of his eight-year stint in the Marine Corps. He had enlisted at the age of 18, fresh out of high school, and realized he needed a degree to transition back into civilian life.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in Technology from Coleman College in San Diego, he began to work for various companies and decided to take his education even further. Darel enrolled in an MBA program at University of Phoenix.

“I wanted to learn the business side,” says Darel. “My MBA specifically has helped me step into roles outside of my comfort zone.”

Reflecting on his time spent pursuing his MBA, Darel recalls the significance of Learning Teams and working in collaborative groups. “People gain a lot more from each other,” says Darel. “I was in a legal class with a legal assistant and he helped me see the realworld side of things. Then we were in a technology class and I was able to give him insight. You learn much more that way than from a PowerPoint or a textbook.”

I wanted to learn the business side. My MBA specifically has helped me step into roles outside of my comfort zone.


An important part of Darel’s education was the instructors he had. “There were several instructors who stood out to me. As seasoned professionals with advanced degrees, my instructors brought years of real-world experience and were looking to give something back. From a personal standpoint, I learned a lot. I can’t say that everyone will have the same experience, but instructors will bring their different strengths.”

Years after earning his MBA and working as an executive for various companies, Darel was approached by Shawn McDonald who offered him a position at Hitachi Data Systems. “Our degrees made us both better communicators. In any relationship with any boss I’ve had, communication is key. Shawn’s well educated, so we both work well together and we’re both able to work in teams.” Currently, Darel works as a consultant under Shawn McDonald in the Southwest region for HDS.

Darel points to his MBA as enhancing his professional skills at HDS. “My MBA helped me understand the business side of things. I can go to a customer and pitch the technology side, but now I’m able to talk to COOs and CFOs. I’m much more proficient at speaking with them and understanding their business needs.” Darel believes his MBA has given him the opportunity to teach classes at Coleman College and give back to students and his community as well.

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