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From Student to Professor

Last time we visited with Jessup MBA graduate Ben Mandakh, he was working as the technical lead for a Bay Area start-up company and had just accepted a part-time adjunct professor position in Jessup’s School of Business. Ben was excited about the future and relished the business relationships he created through his professors and colleagues. We had the opportunity to catch up with Ben and learn about where his life has taken him over the last 15 months and about his new full-time assistant professor position at Jessup. It’s a pleasure to welcome Ben to our Q&A discussion.

What skills did you gain from Jessup’s MBA program that you used in your role at the start-up tech company? 

The servant-leadership skills I learned through the MBA program were so helpful in managing tech teams and serving engineers. I received lots of good feedback and reports on my managerial skills.

Tell me about your new role. What classes do you teach?

I am a full-time assistant professor at Jessup. I teach Full Stack Web Application Development, Python programming language, Data Structures and Algorithm, and Programming.

How do you apply your industry knowledge in the classroom?

In my classes, I teach the fundamentals but also have the students practice industry-demanding skills. For example, they learn teamwork, communication skills, clean and healthy coding practice, problem-solving skills, applying algorithms to real practices, and solving technical problems.

What is your teaching style?

In my classroom, we have an 80/20 rule. This means 80% practice and 20% reading. In other words, we focus on practicing a lot! Practicing and working with real projects is key to learning coding skills. We also learn specific programming languages to solve technical problems and write algorithms with data structures.

I also have the following rule in my classroom: 

  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Learn to work with technical reading docs individually.
  • Be humble and ask for help, then help others.
  • Don’t skip the fundamental learning objectives.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching Jessup students?

I like to think that I am not only teaching at Jessup, I’m also serving others and God. I love guiding my students on their career paths and watching them grow.

What would you tell a potential graduate student who was interested in Jessup’s MBA program?

Choosing Jessup’s MBA program was one of the best decisions in my life. I really liked the mentorship program, internship support, industry-experienced professors, and well-structured courses.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

I’d love for teaching to be my long-term career. Over the next five years, I would like to help Jessup build the top computer science program in Northern California.

When you’re not working, what do you like to do in your free time?

I have three kids, ages 6, 4, and 1. I love to spend time with my family. I also serve as a deacon for media service and youth leader at my church.

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