Student Spotlight: Steve Quillin

Elite Marathon Runner Transitions from Golf Course Management to Business with UMUC MBA


By Rachel Azaroff |   July 2009

Steve Quillin , Student

Master of Business Administration
Graduate School of Management and Technology

Many UMUC students work hard to balance working full-time, being in school and their families and personal lives. MBA student Steve Quillin faces these challenges, all while training as an elite marathon runner. 

Quillin qualified for the Boston Marathon during his first UMUC class by running five days a week, and doing one long run on the weekend. “It was difficult doing training runs of over 20 miles, he says, “when I had to work in the morning until 9:30 a.m. on Saturdays, and then run for three hours as it got hotter.”

This fall, Steve plans on running the New York City Marathon and then competing in the JFK 50-miler three weeks later. “This will take a big commitment to work on the weekends, run up to a 30-mile training run and do well in classes,” he says.

An additional challenge for Steve is his abnormal work schedule, with daily hours from 6 a.m.–3:30 p.m. and every other weekend from 6–10 a.m. He currently works as the assistant superintendent at a Maryland country club where he is in charge of 18 holes in the 36-hole golf complex.

As the weather warms up, his busy season begins, and he spends summers managing more than 50 employees, many of whom speak limited English. “Managing this amount of people is difficult enough, but when language is a barrier it becomes ten times harder,” he says.

Steve applies what he learns in the classroom to his job, especially in situations like managing employees. “I have learned about putting more of an emphasis on employees, and how each person needs to be dealt with differently,” he says. “The program has helped me understand the big picture better and communicate better.”

Steve chose UMUC because of its online course offerings, which are convenient with his schedule.  He has become skilled at managing his time correctly, reading class materials over his lunch break and completing his work early in the week, so he can spend his weekends with his wife and 14-year-old beagle.

Because Steve’s undergraduate background is in natural resource science, he works especially hard to do well in his business courses. “Learning about business systems is new territory to me,” he says. “In order to completely understand, I need to spend a lot of time doing school work.”

AMBA 604 Managing Projects, Operations and Information Systems with Professor Larry Williams has been his favorite class so far. “Professor Williams has done a great job of keeping the whole class involved with discussions and relating the subject matter to real world experiences,” he says.

Steve has enjoyed his UMUC experience so far. He plans to graduate in March 2010 with his MBA and to transition career fields and work as a consultant involved in alternative energy and the environment.