Degree: MS in Marketing
Class Year: 2020
Hometown: Bethel Park, PA
In his black monk’s habit, Isaac Haywiser stands out among the students in the Gerri C. LeBow Hall lobby. A Benedictine monk and a Catholic priest, Haywiser belongs to the St. Vincent Monastery in Latrobe, Pa., and his current studies in LeBow’s MS in Marketing program are a first step toward a PhD.
“My superiors asked me, as I was finishing seminary, if I’d be interested in going on for further studies,” he says, adding that having monks teach at St. Vincent College, which the Benedictines’ administer, has been a monastery priority in recent years.
Haywiser studied business as an undergraduate at St. Vincent, and as he entered the priesthood and began his career in ministry, he investigated different universities and programs, took the GMATs, worked on improving his scores and began sending out applications. “Drexel offered me the opportunity, if I didn’t get accepted for a PhD, to be considered for a masters,” he says.
When he entered LeBow last fall, he moved to Philadelphia from the monastery in western Pennsylvania, and now lives at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City, where he regularly celebrates the sacraments, like Mass and hearing confession. “I don’t have the other responsibilities of being on call, teaching catechesis or administrative duties,” he says. “All of that has been set aside so I can focus on studies. It’s a nice balance.”
As a Benedictine, he lives according to the Rule of St. Benedict, who lived in the late 400s and early 500s. “Even when we’re sent out for studies, we don’t stop living that life. I don’t stop being a monk or a priest because I’m a student,” he says. “It’s not a job title, it’s a way of life.”
Haywiser recalls expressing an interest in entering the priesthood in fourth grade at a Catholic grade school. “I don’t know that it ever went away, but I never acknowledged it until college.” Later, after he asked one of the monks at St. Vincent to serve as a spiritual director, he found himself called to communal living and religious life. “I graduated in May and then in July I was on the other side of campus joining the monastery.”
The discipline of monastery life has helped him as he adjusted to living in a new place and a new routine. “During the first year, called novitiate, there’s no TV, no cellphones, no internet access,” he says. “It was great just to step back from all that.”
When he came to Drexel, he says, “I hadn’t studied business in nine years, so there was a bit of a learning curve, but I’m adjusting to being back in the classroom. That discipline that gets built into you in the formation process never goes away.”
Haywiser says he enjoyed business ethics during his undergraduate business studies, and he’s exploring that area once again in the MS in Marketing program. “I’m interested in ethics and marketing and the areas where those intersect, in corporate social responsibility.” He is also interested in non-profit organizations.
While researching graduate programs in these areas, Haywiser came across Daniel Korschun, associate professor of marketing and Stephen Cozen Research Scholar in Marketing. “I emailed him and asked ‘what are you researching right now? What can I read?’ He sent me some papers, and I thought as I read through them, there’s someone I might be able to do research with down the road.”