08:40 AM

Partnership Helps Walmart Associate Put His Education to Work

daniel atkinson

In the seven years Daniel Atkinson has worked at his local Walmart in Los Fresnos, Texas, he’s risen the ranks from overnight cashier to stocking team lead – and he plans to continue climbing the ladder.

“My goals with Walmart go beyond the store level,” said Atkinson, who is pursuing his business management degree online through Bellevue University. “I aim to become a market manager, regional manager or Home Office associate.”

Those aspirations are what inspired him to pursue a degree through Walmart’s Live Better U program, which helps the company’s associates earn key skills and degrees designed to grow their careers at Walmart. Under the program, Walmart covers the cost of tuition, books and fees, addressing one of the biggest hurdles that keep people from going to college.

Atkinson explained how Beth Konikoff is the lead professor for all his classes at Bellevue University and that he couldn’t ask for a better teacher.

“I can always email her for any help regarding assignments, and she has helped me improve as a leader and student since I started the program,” Atkinson said. “I cannot thank her enough and hope I can meet her once I visit the school.”

The reason Atkinson chose to enroll at Bellevue University is because the University is a member of the academic network created by Guild Education. Guild works with companies across the country, including Walmart, to manage their education benefits and help them upskill workers.  

For Atkinson, the partnership between Guild Education, Bellevue University and his employer helps him “improve at work and understand the business side of things.”

My degree will open opportunities outside the store level and help me become an efficient leader.

Daniel Atkinson, Bellevue University student and Walmart associate

After he graduates with his bachelor’s degree in January 2023, Atkinson hopes to pursue a master’s degree in human resource strategic management from Bellevue University. Within the next two years, he also aims to become a store manager – a goal that’s aided by his recent promotion into Walmart’s new College2Career program.

The accelerated program gives participants a leg up in their career by involving them in classroom training, hands-on experiences and one-on-one mentoring with company leaders as they learn all things Walmart and train to become a store manager. At the end of College2Career, top performers are offered a management job referred to as emerging coach, the start of a pipeline to higher management positions.

Right now, the best part of Atkinson’s job at Walmart, he said, is teaching and developing fellow associates and working alongside them to accomplish the task at hand.

He gives special thanks to his Walmart mentor, Victor, who’s helping develop him as a better leader and learn how to think outside of the box, as well as his coach, Rafia, who instilled in him a high-performance mentality.

At Bellevue University, Atkinson gives all the credit to Professor Konikoff. And he’s excited to continue putting his education to work.

“My degree will open opportunities outside the store level and help me become an efficient leader,” he said.

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