Growing up, the Herberholt cousins weren’t particularly close. They lived about 20 minutes apart in St. Louis, but only saw each other once a year at family reunions. That changed when one by one, they enrolled in courses at Missouri State. They all studied in the College of Business pursuing different marketing degrees. Three ended up working on their accelerated MBA at the same time, and the younger two are considering that path. At Missouri State, they received more than an education — they formed a bond. It all started with Blake Herberholt, 25.
Blazing a path
Blake was the first Herberholt to become a Bear in 2017. “I was looking for affordability. I wanted an experience similar to Mizzou but at a fraction of the cost. I wanted to have a different story because a lot of buddies went to Mizzou,” Blake said. He decided to make his own statement. Blake joined Phi Gamma Delta and immediately found his place on campus. Before MSU, he had no intention of joining a fraternity because he thought fraternities were for partiers. Blake discovered that wasn’t true, and made friends and found mentors in the fraternity. When his brother Tyler, who is about two years younger, started looking at college, it made sense for Tyler to follow his big brother. First, both brothers knew they wanted to study business and the College of Business is one of the best in the Midwest. Plus, they’d have each other to lean on. It was easier on their parents because they could visit one campus. Again, the family was attracted to the affordability. “It saved us money, my family money, and that’s just awesome. Missouri State is very impressive for the price,” said Blake. When their brother Justin was ready to go to college, Missouri State was the natural fit. “Them being here was a definite influence,” Justin said. “It was almost like having a parent here because I am the youngest.” The three brothers were close growing up. They played the same sports, had mutual friends and attended the same schools. The two oldest followed their father’s footsteps and pursued a career in sales — he’s in pharmaceutical sales. As a lifelong soccer player, Justin’s dream is to one day work in sports marketing. The brothers, from Sunset Hills, lived together, too. When their cousin Kate was considering the move, they told her they loved Missouri State.
Kate and Erin
Kate was introduced to the business world at an early age. Her mom is an account executive at Purina and Kate spent her early years in the onsite daycare. “It is the coolest place ever because people can bring their dogs and cats to work. It’s like a little kid’s dream. I loved going to daycare. I’ve always loved her office. My senior year I got to shadow her for a few days and that piqued my interest in management,” said Kate. When it came time to look at colleges, she toured campus. “I thought it was the perfect size campus, everyone was so nice. I really liked the community here. Then also knowing that my cousins were here and they love it, was a nice reassurance that this is where I should be,” said Kate. Kate and her sister Erin are from Oakville. They too are close. Erin came to visit Kate and fell in love with the campus community. “I could tell she was having a lot of fun and felt at home at Missouri State,” Erin said. “I’m also very similar to my sister, so I figured that it would probably be a good fit for me too.” And so, the fifth Herberholt became a Bear. Erin was also influenced by her mom’s job at Purina and decided to pursue a marketing management major — the same major as her sister. The sisters both work on campus. Kate is a graduate assistant in the COB graduate programs office and Erin works in the Academic Advising and Transfer Center.
At first, Erin and Kate weren’t as close to their cousins, but soon they started seeing each other on campus at social events. And because the College of Business is such a close-knit community, professors would immediately recognize their names and ask if they’re related. As the cousins grew closer, so did their families. Both families have houses at Lake of the Ozarks and started planning gatherings in the summer. “We hang out way more than we ever did. My family always jokes around, the kids coming together and going to school together has actually inadvertently rekindled their relationship,” Kate said. In the fall, the parents would attend football games and all tailgate together Robert Herberholt, Kate and Erin’s father, loves to throw a big bash. They would hover under their tents, under heaters and feast on food and catch up. “Our last tailgate in November included all of the kids, their significant others, and both sets of parents. That was probably one of my favorite memories so far. I absolutely love this ‘byproduct’ of MSU for the Herberholt families,” said Robert Herberholt. Erin feels like she’s gained three brothers. “Ever since we’ve come to Missouri State, we’ve gotten way closer,” said Erin. “They come to our family Christmas now, so it’s been really nice.”
Pursuing an MBA
Blake and Tyler opted to pursue their MBA to stand out in the market. “The job market is much more competitive, especially with Zoom and virtual work,” said Tyler. “Now a company in St. Louis can hire someone in Chicago to work for them. Well, 30 years ago that wasn’t the case. They’d have to move to St. Louis. I’m competing with everybody nationwide and everybody seems to be getting MBAs.” They both decided now was the time to do it. While the brothers are naturally competitive people, they haven’t been when it comes to academics. During their master’s degree program, about 80 percent of the time they were in the same class, which was helpful. They were able to study together, do homework and bounce ideas off one another. “It makes the process of learning a lot more fun,” said Blake. Something Blake loved about the MBA program was the diversity. “While the fraternity has been an awesome experience, you tend to surround yourself with likeminded people,” he said. “One of the strengths in the MBA program is we have all these students from diverse backgrounds, a lot of international students. I’m exposed to all different kinds of personalities, backgrounds and work ethics. I see that as a big strength.” Blake said. Tyler appreciated the holistic view to business he gained in the program. In the business world, people can live in a silo and only know their area. “The MBA program pulls those blinders off and really shows you the bigger picture, the bigger idea. It takes everything, whether it’s the psychological side, finance side, accounting or sales. You’re able to see the entirety of the business, and that is what you have to have to be at a higher level,” Tyler said. When Kate started considering the accelerated MBA, she sought their advice. “They’re a huge reason that I decided to pursue the accelerated MBA program because they’re a year ahead of me and that was helpful for me because I had a ton of questions,” Kate said. The MBA program has helped Kate develop her leadership skills and challenge her. Now Erin and Justin say they’re considering an accelerated MBA. If they do decide to pursue it, they will be enrolled around the same time because they are also one year apart. Blake and Tyler graduated in May with their MBA. They both had sales jobs lined up before graduation. Kate, who is a graduate assistant, has one more year. While she’s here, she’s looking forward to taking on the mentoring role Blake and Tyler provided for her. “If Erin or Justin need anything, I can be that big sister type and kind of guide them along as well,” Kate said. “I came to Missouri State because it felt like home. I think having so many relatives here has really cemented that for me.”