A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

Mark Manns

Credit Risk Analyst

Grad Year: 2011

Employer:  Citigroup

Mark A. Manns received more than a bachelor's degree from Houghton College's P.A.C.E. program. He gained more than an education and more than a host of new life skills. He became a better writer through Business Writing class, a more effective communicator through Presentational Speaking class, and a more business-savvy professional through a series of development and management courses. Above all else, Mark truly gained from Houghton College P.A.C.E. a renewed sense of motivation and integrity, a fresh perspective, and a rewarding experience that permanently changed him for the better.

"I have gained a new perspective and appreciation for my work and find that I have a higher focus spiritually. I think P.A.C.E. has made me overall a much stronger person," shared Mark. What stood out to him was the genuine interest that P.A.C.E. professors took in their students' adult lives.

Mark initially chose Houghton's P.A.C.E. program for its convenience. With books included in tuition, single registration for classes, small classroom sizes, and an accelerated program, he felt little need to look further. Gazing back, however, he appreciates much more than these simple conveniences. "P.A.C.E. graduates have a beneficial and lasting impact on society. We gain not just a piece of paper declaring our degree, but a valuable and lasting experience."

Before P.A.C.E., Mark was a single adult living on his own and ready to tackle his education. He felt the bachelor's degree was a necessary prerequisite for higher positions and other opportunities in which he was interested. "I needed the degree to get my foot in the door at almost any reputable company," he noted. Aside from extrinsic motivation, Mark was intrinsically driven by his desire to gain his degree. "I knew I'd be wasting potential if I didn't do it." That's where Houghton P.A.C.E. came in.

Around the same time, Mark met a woman through the church he was attending. They quickly fell in love and were married before the completion of his P.A.C.E. curriculum. Mark was pleased to have a loving wife and stepdaughter who supported him and helped bear the burden of his absence. As he continued through P.A.C.E., he found himself juggling many responsibilities including work, school, purchasing a new house, planning a wedding, and starting a new family.

"It was definitely a challenging journey. I had to sacrifice a great deal of my personal time and compromise my typical sleep schedule to get through P.A.C.E.," Mark admitted. "I was motivated by knowing there was light at the end of the tunnel and that I'd soon be reaching my goal. I kept reinforcing myself and expending that extra bit of energy to endure the demanding schedule." And so it paid off. In February of 2011 Mark graduated from Houghton P.A.C.E. and was chosen to make a closing speech on behalf of his West Seneca cohort at the spring ceremony in May 2011.

To others who are considering the return to education, Mark offers support and encouragement. "P.A.C.E. is well worth the temporary investment of time, money, and personal sacrifice. While your initial motivation may simply be to obtain a degree to advance your career, it turns out to be a much more rewarding experience that not only improves your qualifications as a professional, but also allows you to become a better, more well-rounded person overall."

Shortly after graduating, Mark accepted a new position as a credit risk analyst with Citigroup. His daily tasks include monitoring trade and finance activity with the company's European counterparties to ensure that risk exposure figures remain within required limits. Feeling called to leadership, Mark aspires to eventually accept a managing or supervising position where he can help train, coach, and mentor new and experienced employees.

Mark credits P.A.C.E. professors for training him to appropriately deal with adversity, plan properly, prioritize and manage responsibilities. Most of all, he is grateful to the program for changing his perspective and helping him find more meaning in his work. "Our P.A.C.E. professors encouraged us to glorify God in the hard work that we do, to work with integrity, and to be exemplary models of good Christians and commendable employees," Mark shared. "I now experience greater fulfillment out of work. When you are looking for a job, salary and monetary awards may get you to show up, but they won't be what get you excited about your daily work or what motivates you to keep going!"