The Business of Teaching: How Brandon Recovered from the Recession and Realized a Long Time Dream

Brandon Jacobson was managing a successful title company when the recession hit in early 2008. A few companies had closed their doors, but he had positioned his company to sell, and it sold at the perfect time. 

He quickly found work at his father’s real estate management company and began setting up new offices in different cities. The money was good, and he discovered that he enjoyed the teaching aspect of the work. He joined a teaching panel and began traveling to the Bahamas and Mexico to teach continuing education classes for attorneys on the changes in bankruptcy law.

Between breaks in travel, Brandon began teaching basic financial concepts as a substitute teacher in local schools while looking for a permanent teaching position.

His mother only earned her associate’s degree and his father had found a lot of success without a degree, so there had never been much encouragement or motivation for Brandon to get a degree himself. Because of this, he wanted nothing more than to graduate from college and show his kids the value of a degree and the doors an education opens.

He continued traveling for work and enrolled in WGU to complete his B.S. in Business Management degree. He completed the majority of his program on the road during down time with whatever Wi-Fi he could find. Working 1,000 miles away from his family, Brandon took his final assessment. Rather than call his co-worker to pick him up from his work station like most days, he walked the long way back to his hotel filled with joy, elated that he had finally completed the goal he set so long ago.

Interviews came quickly, but Brandon was turned down repeatedly because he did not have his teaching license. However, a full-time teaching opportunity came after Copper Hills High School in West Jordan, Utah, hired him as their PE specialist. After just one year, he was named Teacher of the Year and was hired as a full-time teacher on the condition that he would become licensed. With the support of school administrators, it didn’t take him long to receive his teaching license.

In every class he teaches, Brandon encourages his students to make learning a priority. In one such class in 2014, he challenged them to set achievable goals and in return, was asked to set goals along with them. “Without much thinking, I promised my class that I would return to WGU and complete my MBA in two semesters!” Brandon said. “Without my wife even knowing, I completed three courses before I told her I was back in school.”

Brandon graduated with his MBA from WGU in August 2014 and has been able to incorporate similar technology that he used at WGU into his own lesson plans.

“With an MBA, I became qualified to teach business law and other business—focused courses at the high school,” Brandon says. “Because of my work experience and degree from WGU, I now sit on the business and advisory board as the school’s college liaison.”

Outside of the classroom, Brandon carries his love and talent for teaching throughout the world working for Microsoft. During the weekends he travels across the country, and he has also made visits to Tanzania, northern Africa, Finland, Holland, Italy, and Chile to train teachers on how to employ software in their teaching structure.

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