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What Makes a Great Student?


Written by Dr. Melvin Randolph

Dr. Randolph obtained his Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) from the Graduate School of Business and Management at Argosy University, Chicago. Currently, he is an adjunct instructor for Argosy University, Chicago and several other institutions in the ‘Chicagoland’ area.

Last semester, I was teaching an economic class and I noticed that there was a student who frequently remained in the classroom after the class had ended. I approached the student and asked if he had any questions about the course material. The student told me that he had no questions. I asked the student why he stayed after class every week. The student informed me that he just wanted to be prepared for the next class. I was impressed by the student’s answer and it made me wonder what makes a great student. As I thought about it, I came up with five characteristics that I believe make a great student. Those five characteristics are: motivation, communication, good listening, self-awareness, and intelligence.


The first characteristic a good student must have is motivation. The student has to be motivated to want knowledge if they want to be successful. This is the most difficult part for a student and depending on the course subject and the professor; students may find it hard to find motivation. I always suggest to students to find something to motivate them about the subject. It is not the responsibility of the school and the teacher to provide motivation to the student. The student must find motivation that is unique to them and once that is found, they are on your way to gaining knowledge and being a great student.

Communication Skills

Secondly, students must have great communication skills. I remember being a college student and being afraid to ask the teacher a question during class because I was afraid of looking stupid in front of the class. In hindsight, I realize that I missed out on so much information because of this choice. I quickly learned that asking questions can in fact help shape and direct the class, not just for me, but for my classmates as well. What most students do not realize is that most teachers are happy if students came to class prepared to listen to the lecture and have questions.

Listening Skills

Next, students need to stop listening defensively. Listening defensively is problematic because students doing this only receive small amounts of the information being shared. Some people like to challenge questions and debate theories, but this method can be distracting to the student. A great student would be prepared to listen openly and actively so that they can succeed.

Self Awareness

Students sometimes need to look at themselves and ask what type of student they are in class. Being aware of self is another key component to becoming a great student. Taking ownership and responsibility in how you receive and interpret instruction are very important internal characteristics that can shape a student learning potential. Sometimes as students we are judgmental of instructors or classmates and we allow it to change our behavior and block the opportunity to learn something from the class. I believe humbling one-self and being prepared to accept instruction is also a good plan for becoming a great student.


Intelligence is needed to be a great student, but when I say intelligence I mean intelligence in all its various forms. It can be emotional, linguistic, and/or intra-personal intelligence; all of these are assets in learning. Whichever the type a student possesses, it can be used to help the student succeed. Intelligence is especially important when it comes to thinking critically. I believe critical thinking subjects transcends across all disciplines and classrooms, so it is a very important skill to master. Also, studies have shown that students with high intelligence seem to do well with critical thinking assignments.

In closing, I believe if students were to focus on these five characteristics (motivation, communication, listening, self-awareness and intelligence) and use them as a blueprint for their educational journey as a student, they will definitely be on their way to becoming a great student.

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What can I do with a Business Management Degree?


Whether you like working with people or products, a career in business management can help you to achieve professional goals. The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that management positions are often high-earning, with chief executives being paid an average of $175,100 per year. Financial managers and human resource managers earn an average of over $100,000 per year. Many of these jobs require on the job experience and a higher education degree.

Additionally, marketing and sales manager jobs are expected to have the largest growth potential in the industry—so if you’re interested in getting on board, it may be time to pursue your business management degree.

Argosy University helps to prepare tomorrow’s business managers for success in the workplace through its Graduate School of Business and Management . Students may pursue a Master of Business Administration, Master of Law in Compliance, Master of Science in Human Resource Management, Master of Science in Management, and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership. The school also offers a Doctor of Business Administration in Business Administration and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. Not at the graduate level yet? Check out our undergraduate business programs!

Each of these programs is specialized to help students to move up into management positions in their current company—or to compete for higher-level jobs in the marketplace. Interested in enhancing your career potential in the business world? Contact the admissions department at Argosy University to learn more about our programs in business management.

Programs, credential levels, technology, and scheduling options vary by school and are subject to change. Not all online programs are available to residents of all U.S. states. Administrative office: Argosy University, 601 South Lewis Street, Orange, CA 92868 © 2018 Argosy University. All rights reserved. Our email address is
See for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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Dream It and Do It: Carl Clemons Encourages Argosy University Students to Follow His Lead


Carl Clemons believes in big dreams—for others and for himself.

As an Admissions Representative at Argosy University, Online Programs in Pittsburgh, Clemons supports and mentors students—and prospective students—through the process of earning their college degrees.

As an actor with more than 30 television and film credits—including The Wire and the upcoming mini-series, Escape from Dannemora, directed by Ben Stiller and starring Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette—he actively auditions, hoping for that big break.

As a father, he’s committed to teaching his six-year-old daughter that education matters—and has set an example for her by completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Argosy University, Online Programs in 2017. He has two classes to complete before finishing his Master of Business Administration degree at Argosy University, Online Programs with a concentration in Organizational Leadership.

“One thing I know for sure is that turning a dream into reality requires determination and persistence,” says Clemons. “I grew up poor and without a father in one of Pittsburgh’s toughest neighborhoods. In high school, my focus was more on survival than on getting a good education. I lost friends to gang violence and saw others go to prison. I’ve seen too many people give up or lose their way. But I was lucky to have a strong mother and grandmother who both loved me and taught me to dream and work hard. I know that creating a successful life isn’t always easy, but I also know it’s possible.”

For Clemons, acting has always been a passion. But after a co-worker at a bank told him about an opening at Argosy University seven years ago, he landed a job as a Success Advisor.

“I had no prior college experience, but I had a passion for helping people plan and problem solve so they could take the next steps in their careers,” Clemons explains. “When my daughter was born, I realized it was time to take the next step in mine. If I was going to talk about it, I needed to be about it! I earned my associates degree, then my bachelors, and now I’m almost finished with my master’s program.”

Clemons says the demands of juggling his work, family, classes and acting gigs has provided a perspective that helps him better relate to the students he advises.

“I totally understand the challenges students face because I’m right there with them,” he says. “I know what it’s like to struggle to find that balance between work, family and school. It’s not easy. Sometimes, it’s not even possible. But there’s almost always a way to figure it out and keep moving in the right direction.”

What makes his work so energizing, Clemons says, is working with a wide variety of students.

“There’s never a dull moment,” he says. “Every day—and every student—is different. One minute I’m a cheerleader, providing moral support to a freshman who’s lost her job and wants to quit school. An hour later, I’m calling a prospective student who’s expressed interest in one of our degree programs. Later that day, I’m troubleshooting and talking someone through a timetable for completing their doctorate.”

Since all of his students are enrolled in online degree programs, Clemons counsels people all over the United States by phone from his Pittsburgh office.

“I’m on the phone nearly all day, every day,” Clemons says. “It would probably drive some people crazy, but I love the process of helping people commit to a goal and work toward achieving it. The students I work with know I understand what it’s like to sometimes second-guess yourself or wonder if it’s all worth the effort.”

Now that Clemons is only two classes shy of completing his master’s program, he says he’s come to appreciate what a perfect fit his work as a Success Advisor and Admissions Representative have been.

“There’s an added reason I like what I do so much,” he says. “I help provide the support for students to begin or continue their college education, and they’ve provided the inspiration to me to complete mine.”  ###

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  • 2018

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