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        Harbert business grad - and Black Alumni honoree - travels the world. Says of AU: ‘stay engaged’

        November 2, 2021 By Troy Turner

        All News


        Lawerence Martin, Auburn MBA

        Lawrence Martin, MBA '09

        He was a kid from inner-city Boston who grew up in Pennsylvania and searched throughout the land for a business school that could help him be as bold a businessman as he was a dreamer. He wanted more than a degree, and more than just hope.

         He found it at Auburn University.

        “When I was searching for a program, I felt like Auburn and the Harbert College of Business were the most genuine,” Lawrence Martin said. “They told me it was not just about the degree, but it was about connecting us back to the university when we graduated."

        “I didn't think much of it until I graduated and the first time they asked me to be a reference for a prospective student who asked me, ‘why did I choose Auburn?’ and I responded, ‘because I was looking to be challenged, to be around like-minded people, and to grow my career.’"

        The career path Lawrence Martin launched at Harbert has him today responsible for a team of 950 software engineers and the title of chief software development officer at Epicor Software Corporation, a global enterprise resource-planning software provider headquartered in Austin, Texas.

        Martin is quick to tell others he is proud of his Auburn degree, and Auburn is showing its pride in him: Martin will be among those who will receive special honors during Auburn University’s Black Alumni Weekend on Nov. 12-14.

        ‘Who would have thought’

        Martin earned his MBA at Harbert in 2009, and he remembers well his early success because of it.

        “When I graduated, I like many people ‘wondered’ if my graduate degree would pay off, would it help my career?” he said. “I would say yes: I was promoted to vice president roughly six months following graduation, at one of the largest software companies (Computer Associates).

        Lawerence Martin Looking Back

        “I wanted it more!”

        “Still, one of my mentors told me to change the conversation focus, from getting another job to enabling my career."

        “With my newfound knowledge and degree, I felt like I could compete with the business leaders,” Martin said. “Moving from the engineering side to the business side was intimidating, but with my newfound skills, I found the confidence.

        “Overall, just being able to have worked for some of the best organizations the software industry has to offer, including Epicor, is my biggest success story,” he said. “Being a kid from the inner city of Boston, with minimal opportunities and a lack of resources, to see where I am today is something special.

        “Who would have ever thought that I would travel the world, and be at the forefront of technology?” Martin asked. “I want to thank a teacher of mine, Mr. Matson at York High School, who during geometry class told me: ‘Believe in yourself more than others believe in you, you'll get what you want. Want it more.’

        A powerful Auburn ally

        Stanley Harris, PhD associate dean for Harbert’s Graduate and International Programs and Luck Professor, nominated Martin for the alumni award he will be receiving on Black Alumni Weekend, which involves a variety of activities scheduled that Friday-Sunday, including the Mississippi State football game.

        “Lawrence is a graduate of the Harbert College’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program and has distinguished himself in his professional career and in his support of Auburn. He is highly deserving of this honor,” Harris said. “Lawrence is a software engineering entrepreneur and leader.

        “In 2010, he founded One World Educational Solutions Group, LLC to provide alternative learning platforms to deliver virtual education. He has served as vice president for three distinguished companies… Lawrence has been a powerful ally for Auburn.”

        Among Martin’s many contributions to Auburn University cited by Harris:

        • Service on the MBA Advisory Board since 2017.
        • Led the MBA class of 2009 giving campaign to name the associate dean’s office in the new Horton-Hardgrave Hall.
        • Connected Harbert College with Epicor for internship opportunities.
        • Frequently works with Harbert Graduate and Career Services to connect and interact with students.
        • Served as an alumni panelist for the EMBA class of 2021 graduation event.
        • Keynote speaker for the EMBA class of 2019 graduation celebration.

        “Lawrence is a great person and extremely engaging with contagious energy and enthusiasm,” Harris noted.

        “He is always at the ready to help Auburn and the Harbert College of Business. He and his family are ‘all in’ as they say.”

        Paying it forward

        “The key to anything significant is preparation – nothing is given, all earned – and accepting setbacks as a road map to success,” Martin said in advice for today’s students. “Auburn and, more importantly, Harbert College mentored me and continues now, allowing me to be involved with the college and students.

        “I look forward to speaking with young students about the journey I have been on and encouraging them to remember, ‘life is a journey and not a destination.’ That glimmer of optimism and hope is something so special, and Harbert allows me to be a part of that, and I can't thank them enough."

        “I believe in paying it forward with time, talent and treasure, and they have allowed me to be part of this endeavor.”

        Martin makes frequent trips back to Auburn, and he encourages other alumni to remain involved with the school.

        “I believe alumni should get engaged and stay engaged,” he said.

        “One of the special things for me was when Dr. Annette Ranft, the dean of the Harbert College of Business, reached out to have lunch,” Martin said. “I felt like she was genuinely looking for my input. She wanted to know what I thought to get other Black alumni engaged.

        “Our conversation lasted a bit longer than we probably expected, but I walked away proud to say I am a part of the Harbert College of Business and felt like they wanted my voice to be heard,” he said. “If you don't engage, it's hard to blame others for what you didn't do.

        “I wanted to be engaged.”

        The family connection

        Martin said he is grateful that Auburn is honoring him. “Surprised is the first word that comes to mind, and I am humbled they would nominate me,” he said. “What a fantastic journey, and to be recognized by the university is special.

        “I am hopeful that others will lay a brick for the next generation of Black alumni to be part of the university, the Harbert College of Business, and contributors to the greater good of all people.”


        “I am a little nervous because I want to represent the school and all Black alumni who have gone on this journey, and I hope to make them proud."

        “I am honored by the Black Alumni Association for sponsoring the event and allowing me to join the fraternity of others who made it possible to attend, excel and give back to Auburn.”

        And, he has other personal reasons for remaining an avid supporter of the university: 

        “My son is graduating soon from the College of Engineering in computer science, and I hope he recognizes that moments like these make a person think about all the hard work paying off,” Martin said.

        Pay it forward