Student Profile: William Lutrell
Former accountant earned his M.B.A. at UTSA alongside his undergrad son
Meet William Lutrell. After losing his job, he turned his misfortune into an opportunity to start over.
At 58, Lutrell is not the typical college student. He previously worked as an accountant for more than 30 years, but after being laid off twice in less than five years he realized he needed to make a change.
"Sometimes as you go through life, you're like a farmer planting seeds," he said. "Your seeds might take root or they might not and, as a good farmer, you keep trying until something works. Coming back to school was my way of looking for something else to work. I was replanting."
Lutrell, a San Antonio native, had retained positive memories of UTSA while taking some tax courses a few years previously. He was also impressed by the school's growth over the years into a top-tier university and its welcoming atmosphere. He enrolled in the MBA program in 2013.
"I was a little arrogant when I first arrived," Lutrell said. "I have 30 years of experience, and I didn't think I would learn anything. But after six months, my head was spinning. There was more to learn than I ever imagined, and I started to have a much broader perspective."
He soon found that while his experience didn't negate the need to study, he was able to consume information and consider how to apply it practically in the field.
"We learned that successful businesses shoot bullets before they shoot cannonballs," Lutrell said. "Coming back to school, I began to shoot some bullets to find out what I was good at before I sent out the cannonball."
When Lutrell began his classes, his youngest son was already enrolled at UTSA as a sophomore.
"He wasn't thrilled about going to college with his dad at first," he said. "But he saw the long hours I was committing to studying, and I believe that helped him realize that earning a degree isn't easy and it takes a lot of effort. Now he's become a study fiend, just like me."
Lutrell is set to graduate in December, while his son will graduate in May.
"It's been so thrilling to watch him grow and work so hard," he said. "He's moving forward, which is why we chose to come to UTSA. Here, if you're not moving forward you're moving backward. It's been a delight to run alongside him."
With his degree nearly completed, Lutrell is looking at a number of options to move his career forward, but is most looking forward to being able to watch a full football game—something he hasn't done in three years.
"What made this time in my life unique was that I took the time to develop a new skill set and think deeply to grow beyond who I was before," he said. "A lot of people my age are talking about retirement, but that word is just not in my vocabulary. There's too much to be done."
– Joanna Carver
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