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        Alumni, Online Programs

        Olympic hopeful considers Completer Program a 'Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'

        November 30, 2020 By Joe McAdory

        All News



        Erik Armes, who trains with USA Triathlon, has his sights set on earning a spot in the 2024 Summer Olympics. The former Auburn track star completed his business education in December of 2019 via Harbert College's BSBA Completer Program.

        “Our program is designed to allow students who have earned college credits to complete their dream of earning a prestigious Auburn University degree.”                                                                                                                — Jennifer Mueller-Phillips, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

        The Harbert College is committed to providing a superior student experience that produces highly
        sought-after graduates and cultivates lifelong engagement.

        When Erik Armes had a chance to train and compete professionally with USA Triathlon, giving up on his college education was out of the question.

        “I was running track on scholarship at Auburn, and leaving to train in Arizona was such a hard decision,” said Armes, who lacked two semesters in the fall of 2018 from completing a marketing degree from the Harbert College. “I didn’t want to leave Auburn. I loved it. This was kind of like leaving for the NFL Draft your junior year of college. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity … and I promised my parents that I’d finish my degree.”

        Armes didn’t leave Auburn. Instead, the future 2024 Olympic hopeful took Auburn with him.

        Amidst the rigors and training and worldwide competitions, Armes, who lives and trains in Tempe, Arizona, finished his Auburn education in December 2019 through the Harbert College’s Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) Completer Program, which offers students the opportunity to finish their business education – 100 percent online – with 22 courses that cover 60 credit hours. The degree is especially designed for students who have already earned credits toward undergraduate degrees, and can help maximize professional opportunities by developing proficiencies in a variety of business disciplines. 


        Before Erik Armes competed and trained with USA Triathlon, he was a distance runner and marketing student in the Harbert College of Business. The college's BSBA Completer Program allowed Armes to finish his degree online.

        “Our program is designed to allow students who have earned college credits to complete their dream of earning a prestigious Auburn University degree,” said Jennifer Mueller-Phillips, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Harbert College. “The program is delivered 100 percent online by Harbert College’s world-class faculty, so that it fits within students’ busy lifestyles.”

        Even in Kazakhstan.

        “Last summer, I was competing there and had to take a business exam online,” Armes said. “Except … the link to the college’s web site was blocked in that country because Kazakhstan has more restrictions on its internet viewing. I immediately let the professor know and was given an alternate assignment.”

        Needless to say, Armes passed the test.

        “The professors at the Harbert College were fantastic and worked with me on time changes and my international travel,” he said. “Earning this degree would not have been possible without the flexibility of the online schedule, with all of my traveling and watching lectures. The professors were nothing but understanding during the process.”

        Triathlons – consisting of a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride, and a 10-kilometer run -- take a tremendous toll on the body. “There were times when I was competing, or training, I kept thinking, ‘Oh, I’ve really got to pass this economics exam, or I’ve got to get this assignment finished later,” Armes said. “It took a toll on me. Throughout the day, we would have three to four training sessions and I’d have to squeeze in my homework assignments in there. Being a student-athlete at Auburn taught me how to properly manage my time – and that carried over into my professional life. It was hard, but I knew that earning that degree from Auburn University and the Harbert College of Business was going to set me up for anything I wanted in life.”

        Armes, who said he’s been “War Eagled” in airports across the globe, hopes to one day leverage his business degree to climb a ladder within the commercial real estate industry.

        “Through this degree, I’ve been able to make several business connections,” he added. “This business administration degree gave me such a broad range of disciplines. It taught me how to work with people, work in teams, and work with clients. What stands out is the fact that this is a business degree from Auburn. Being such a prestigious university, it’s opened so many doors for the post-athletics side of my career. I’m excited to start putting it to use soon.”

        Armes is immediately focused on Paris and the 2024 Olympics. He’s one of six triathletes competing through a series of events for three spots on the U.S. team.

        “This Olympic journey I have been on would not have been possible without the support of the entire Auburn Family and I’m humbled to continue to represent them along the way,” Armes added.

        For more information about Harbert College's Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Completer Program, contact Ashley Bond at 334-844-3833 or