U.S. Army Captain Scott Abrams earns MBA while stationed in Germany

U.S. Army Captain Scott Abrams earns MBA while stationed in Germany

WHITMIRE – About 2,000 students took the stage at the Littlejohn Coliseum on December 22nd and shook hands with President Jim Clements in a tangible representation of an important college milestone, graduating from Clemson University.

Six time zones before the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business inauguration ceremony, U.S. Army Capt. Scott Abrams ’08 will think of Clemson’s newest alumni group as he spends time with his wife and three children at their home in Germany spends . Three years after enrolling in Clemson’s online program, he is about to earn a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

“In terms of a lifetime achievement (earning my MBA) is right next to marriage and having my kids,” said Abrams, who is from Whitmire.

Abrams earned a bachelor’s degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management on May 9, 2008. He remembers that day as one of the most emotionally rewarding moments of his life. He grew up idolizing his father — a 1973 Clemson grad — who also celebrated his 59th birthday on the same day.

He was born into a Clemson family. Along with his father, Abrams’ grandfather was also a member of the Class of 1943.

He was also born into a military family. Abrams is the eighth generation of his family to serve in the US military. He says it goes back to his ancestor James, the first member of the Abrams family to come to the United States.

“He came before the American Revolution and joined the South Carolina militia,” he said. “It was meant for us.”

However, military service was not always intended for this member of the Abrams family. After graduating from Clemson, he worked in the civilian sector and moved to Jacksonville, Florida. He lived with his uncle and recalls the two having serious talks about using his Clemson degree and becoming a military officer.

Abrams was working as a waiter in the restaurant business when he met his future wife. After she became pregnant with their first child, he knew the job would no longer pay the bills.

“I thought I could use some discipline and that a military career would challenge me,” Abrams recalled. “I got in touch in July 2011.”

Less than two weeks after his draft, Abrams’ father was diagnosed with stage IV brain cancer. He delayed starting basic education to transport his father to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, where he had to live for six months to a year. After taking care of his father, Abrams completed basic education a year later in July 2012 and his father was able to attend high school. Abrams was commissioned an officer on October 4, 2012. His father died the following November.

Not coming from an ROTC background, Abrams got to know the Army from the ground up as a Personnel Officer. He calls his first few months as a second lieutenant a “big transition,” but says his father instilled in him a strong work ethic and taught him to never quit.

Abram’s first assignment was in April 2013 with military intelligence at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia. After four years at Fort Gordon and a promotion to the rank of captain, he went to Florence to serve as a recruiter.

During his time in Florence he felt the need to look into the possibility of pursuing an advanced degree. He applied and was accepted into the MBA program for the fall semester of 2019. During this time he was also contacted about a special opportunity to return to Clemson.

“The South Carolina Education Lottery wanted to feature a veteran who had benefited from Life Scholarship, and it was something that helped me financially while I was a student at Clemson,” he said. “I was featured at the Tiger Tailgate Show for Military Appreciation Day this fall. I thought that was pretty cool and saw it as a great marketing opportunity with my role as an army recruiter.”

His family received four tickets to the football game against Wofford, bringing back memories of his first stint at Tigertown in 2004-08. As a student, he was an intern with Billy Napier, then the football program’s recruiting coordinator and currently the head coach at the University of Florida. Abrams also worked with the athletic department’s facility team.

One of Abrams’ first MBA courses was accounting, and he struggled. He was put on academic probation. He was then working for a demanding battalion commander and did not devote much time to teaching. In addition, his wife was pregnant with their third child.

He was granted a semester of leave to regroup. And then the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

“Our son was born and then we were ordered to go to Germany,” he says. “When I arrived in Germany I had to be in quarantine for 14 days. My Fall 2020 semester began in a hotel room at Ramstein Air Base. But I was able to stay in the MBA program and started getting involved.”

Abrams never fought with any other class while serving as a captain in the 10th Army’s Air and Missile Defense Command. The unit is responsible for the air defense of all of Europe. Fast forward a few years and not only is he finishing his MBA, but he’s about to be promoted to major.

“It’s a big deal for me because my dad was a major,” he admits.

Abrams says the hardest part of adjusting to life abroad was earning an MBA on top of his personal and work commitments. Halfway toward his goal of 20 years of military service, Abrams can’t help but reflect on the multiple connections between his MBA degree and his work.

“There’s a lot of transferrable stuff in this degree,” he said. “You help with budgeting and resource allocation. The social media strategy is big because we have a big online presence to spread the Army message. There is also leadership. One of my favorite courses in the MBA program was Gail DePriest’s Advanced Leadership Class.”

He applied much of what he learned to his role as an Army recruiter. Eventually he could envision opening his own business one day – maybe in gastronomy, an area of ​​interest.

Abrams believes that given his military service, family history and “all in” Clemson spirit, he has the necessary foundation to succeed. And like his father, he does this to set an example for his children to follow.

“I really enjoy the quality of life and the opportunity to travel,” he said. “Being able to pass that on to my children was something special. I didn’t have many opportunities growing up. Whitmire is a small town and I had 17 people in my senior year. But hopefully I’ll teach my kids the importance of making something of themselves.”

While his name was not announced audibly at the beginning of December 22, the MBA diploma sent in the mail serves as a testament to his tireless efforts.

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