When computer guru Victor Khomin realized his database wasn't full, he didn't hesitate to log on.
He said, "I had a director, Irene Riley, who was like a mentor to me. She said, 'One of the things you should do to get the most out of life is write down your goals.' Back in 1995, I wrote down that I wanted to get my MBA.
"One day I was cleaning up and found my book with my goals. I had accomplished all of them except for getting my MBA. I thought, 'Why am I delaying it? Just do it.'"
Now, Khomin is on track to complete the online Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Cyber Security Management program at St. Thomas University in October 2021. For the last 15 years, he has owned the San Francisco-based consulting firm, Metro Computers.
"Because of the flexibility of the online format, I am only taking one class at a time," he said. "My clients demand a lot of my time and knowledge.
"It's hard to go back to school full time or part time when you're an adult in the working world. The online program gives you that flexibility. After you come home and have dinner, you can log in and do your homework."
Moreover, STU's Catholic identity struck a chord for Khomin and made the university a natural choice.
"I am Catholic. I attended a Catholic grammar school and a Catholic high school. It made sense going back to my roots," he said.
Although Khomin had never taken an online course prior to enrolling at St. Thomas University, he completed some distance learning while earning a California Real Estate Broker License.
"People told me that one of the biggest challenges with an online degree program is that you don't have that interaction with your classmates and professors," he said. "In today's age, I think they're wrong.
"If I reach out to a professor, they're there. I can also reach out to classmates. You need to adapt to today's technological changes. Those who refuse to adapt will fall behind."
Get With the Program
Khomin was born and raised in the Bay Area. In 1995, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in finance from San Francisco State University where he minored in Asian-American studies.
"Ever since I was a child, I was always working with computers," he said. "Eventually, I decided to quit my job and become an entrepreneur. The first few years were challenging, but I found a niche in the property management industry."
Once Khomin decided to return to college, he did extensive research on MBA programs. He was already somewhat familiar with St. Thomas University after visiting friends and relatives in the Miami area.
"The whole process started on a Friday evening," he said. "I requested more information. I got a call back on Saturday morning. The recruiter, Ray Williamson, walked me through the process and told me exactly what I needed to do.
"Less than two weeks later, I got a letter saying I was accepted. It was very convenient."
So far, BUS 775: International Business is Khomin's favorite course in the online MBA with a concentration in Cyber Security Management program.
"My family background is Chinese-Thai," he said. "The family legacy of international business goes back a couple of hundred years. We recently celebrated 125 consecutive years of family dinners in Bangkok. I had an understanding of the business, but this class had everything make sense and I understood more how things work."
San Francisco Treat
Although Khomin is busy with school and work, he has been diligent about his return to college with the help of his loved ones.
"My parents are excited and supportive," he said. "Same with my friends and my wife, Robin Romo. Some of them wonder if I am going to be able to complete this program because of my current workload."
Khomin plans to continue running his business after he graduates from the online MBA program.
"The company I am working with right now is one of the few management companies that allows all of its employees to work from home during the pandemic," he said. "When I got there, they were accustomed to a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system and house servers. I moved the company to cloud-based communication and collaboration solutions as well as cloud networking."
In returning to higher education after a 24-year gap, Khomin primarily hopes to achieve his life goal of earning a master's degree, but his business has already benefited from the knowledge he has acquired at STU in a short time.
"I have applied all of the information I learned in the program to my work," he said. "It helps me make a lot of the connections for things to make sense. I'd like to attend commencement and meet the folks who helped me along the way."
A trip to Miami to walk the graduation stage will culminate Khomin's major achievement. As he works toward crossing his goal off a list he made in 1995, he names a key ingredient for success.
"One word I did not forget from my first class was 'grit.' If you want your MBA, you have to go get it."
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.