By Laurie Davies
Before emigrating from South Africa in January 2020 and settling in Salt Lake City, Wells already had nine years of corporate management experience with Spur Corporation, a major restaurant franchiser in South Africa. As a regional operations manager for the John Dory’s brand, Wells oversaw 12 to 15 restaurants, ensuring franchise standards were met, helping with the training of staff, analyzing customer service levels and generally helping the businesses succeed.
“That job experience saved me time on my MBA,” he says. His strong background in marketing, operations and human resources allowed him to complete some of the competency assessments prior to the deadlines. That, in turn, enabled him to focus on corporate finance, accounting and subjects that required more of his time and attention.
Wells’ son, Kaiden, was born in November 2021, during the last semester of Wells’ degree program. “This had its challenges and benefits. It motivated me to work harder, but a newborn baby is also a lot of work,” Wells says.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve accomplished,” says the proud Phoenix. “When you push yourself to do hard things, it adds to your confidence.”
In fact, Wells is eager to take the business skills he’s added to his repertoire and apply them as a consultant with small businesses. “I’ll feel more confident once business opportunities arise that I can put myself through challenges,” he says. A self-described closet entrepreneur, he also has ideas on testing out a few of his own products in the health, nutrition, and food and beverage industries.
For now, he’s content volunteering to help small business owners succeed. He feels sure his turn will come. And when it does, he says, he has greater business acumen and confidence as a result of his University of Phoenix degree.
You can catch more of Wells’ thoughts when Amazon’s The College Tour airs its episode featuring University of Phoenix in June 2023.