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Why did you decide to pursue a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree at NAU?
I am still trying to find a concise answer to this question as I am asked it every time college graduation comes up in casual conversation. The term business can be argued as the core of our existence. We live in a business-oriented world where many encounters and exchanges are of a professional manner. It is wise for an individual to have an understanding of how a firm operates and the part it plays in global markets. This is important as many individuals will be a part of a business for the majority of their lives. Understanding the components of business operations such as marketing, finance, management, manufacturing, human resources, and the law enhances a person’s ability to make successful business-related decisions.
There is a business for most types of demands; therefore, it is possible to use business skills in a variety of fields. My career path was undecided when I enrolled in college. I had (and still have) many interests in various fields. I did not truly understand my strengths and weaknesses yet. I wanted to pursue a degree that I would not have regrets about later on, like not being able to find a job. During the course of my education, I became enamored by the various components of business and took a liking to technology implementation, enhancing systematic processes, and strategic management.
Were there any professors that truly inspired you?
I enjoyed working with Dr. Cordova, as she was motivating and very creative. During the last semester, the workload increased for both college and my occupation. She broke down concepts very well. I also appreciated the Management Information Systems instructor as he used very relevant articles and videos to teach his course. He limited the amount of textbook work, which is an industry of its own, as much as possible.
Did you have a job or participate in an internship while you were pursuing your degree?
At one time I had two jobs during my college career. Youth sure does have its benefits. I did not participate in an internship, but instead received hands-on paid learning through my job. I was a department manager for 17 employees and my specialty was implementing systematic and programming solutions. Recently, I took a leap to another career path with a sustainable and scalable company. There is more opportunity for learning and growth.
How has networking and obtaining your degree helped you in your career? Were there any classes that were the most practically applicable?
I am a proponent of those who surround you will determine your quality of life. Networking has helped me become acquainted with others who can offer something specific to me, and in turn I can offer the same to another. Networking has also helped me secure my new position. As mentioned previously, business is everywhere. I often use the communication and business writing skills I learned in college. This was particularly helpful while preparing and hosting meetings. Employment Law, Compensation and Benefits, Global Finance, and Business Finance were courses that were the most practically applicable for me.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
What kinds of hobbies did you have while working on your degree? How did you manage to juggle work, school, family, hobbies, etc.?
While leisure time was limited in school, I mainly focused on my exercise regimen. I was able to maintain my running and lifting routine. I participated in several races and a half-marathon. I try to reach 30 miles a week which became exhausting with the increase in workload. Now that I have graduated, I will resume my guitar playing and leisurely reading. I was able to juggle work, school, family, and hobbies by staying organized and keeping a tight schedule. There seems to be more hours in a day when they are used wisely and there’s always time for a little music and snacks with friends!
What advice do you have for students who are considering the NAU BBA program?
Though it may not be solid yet, have a plan. Figure out what you like to do, what interests you, and consider your strengths and weaknesses. College is a great way to improve upon your weaknesses. While studying, obtain a strong grasp on the material. That will help you get where you want to be. Signing up for courses can be tedious and nerve wracking. Chose courses that are relevant to your overall goal. Many of the professors are business owners, entrepreneurs, and just fascinating people – take advantage of their time.
What advice do you have for students as they are approaching graduation and after graduation?
Stay organized. Use this time to hone your skills and meet others. If you have debt, formulate a plan to pay-off your loans. If you do not have a solid career path, set a game plan for your next steps to get a job in business. If you are in an enjoyable and stable organization, figure out your next steps for professional growth. Stay diligent and develop your research skills and analytical abilities throughout life. Most importantly, take some time to breath and congratulate yourself on graduating!
Congratulations on graduating Rochelle and best wishes in your career!
Why did you decide to pursue a BBA degree?
When I started college, I was going to school for nursing. After volunteering at a hospital in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), I decided it wasn’t for me. I knew that I wanted to finish school and that business was a part of any career, so I chose to join the NAU BBA program and attend classes at the NAU Paradise Valley Community College campus.
Did you have a job while you were pursuing your degree?
I was working part-time at a medical device company that is headquartered in Scottsdale. I started in the customer service department as an aide. As I learned more they started to give me more work. Since I had a flexible schedule, I started filling in for employees who were out of the office. My position became quite versatile.
Did you complete any internships?
I had two internships at the same organization. I requested an internship at Cayenne Medical and they created a program for me in the marketing department. I enjoyed it so much that I completed another internship with the same company in the sales and operations department working with a business analyst. I learned so much by working in multiple departments. Don’t hesitate to try and create opportunities for yourself!
Where are you now – where do you work & how did you get your job? Tell us about your journey.
I currently work for a small recruiting firm, QFR Solutions. We specialize in pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries. A recruiter reached out to me through LinkedIn and initially I was unsure about it because I was applying for positions at larger companies. After meeting with the interviewer (my current boss) for a successful first interview, I returned to meet the rest of the staff. The company expressed such great interest in me becoming a part of their team that they extended an offer I couldn’t turn down. I declined the two other offers I had pending, and it’s been a little over a year now and I am very glad I joined this team. The time I spent working at the medical device company helped me understand the medical sales industry more which has helped me become successful in my job.
What advice would you give BBA students?
- When you’re looking for a job, it’s okay to be nervous during the interview. Research the company and go to the interview prepared with responses to questions that may be asked. Also just be yourself. Just as a company is seeking a candidate to be the right fit for them, remember that you are interviewing the company to see if they’re the right fit for you.
- Participate in any extracurricular activities that interest you. Volunteering is a great piece to add to your potentially light resume if you are fresh out of school with only a little bit of work experience. Getting involved in your community with volunteer work can also be a good addition to graduate school admissions applications, scholarship applications, and job applications. I look at resumes every day and when I see volunteer or community service listed, I tend to think that the individual is proactive about making a difference in the community.
- Networking is so important. Having connections help get your foot in the door, so get out of your bubble and get involved. Join business clubs, volunteer in your community (members of your network may even write a letter of recommendation for you), talk to professors (they may connect you to companies or their peers), have conversations with existing relationships (I got one job lead through my neighbor), and keep in touch with recruiters and hiring managers. You may not have been the right fit for the job you interviewed for; however, you may be the perfect fit for another position in their network.
- Build your LinkedIn profile and stay active. The recruiter who reached out to me for my current position contacted me through LinkedIn. Recruiting specialists have different features on their accounts where they can narrow their searches for candidates (e.g., school, graduation year, skills, previous work experience, etc.). Develop every area you can on your profile to increase your visibility in searches.
If you could change one thing about your NAU experience, what would it be?
If I could do this all over again, I would probably not rush to graduate and I would have taken more classes in person. I took more online courses than in person courses and missed out on the classroom environment. Online discussion boards can’t really be compared to classroom discussions where you get to share ideas and opinions in real time. If there is availability for you to take in person courses, I would definitely recommend fitting them into your schedule.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Married, successful, and possibly with a child on the way. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but I am not quite ready for motherhood just yet. There are a few things I need to accomplish first and places I want to see. The ultimate goal is to be happy and healthy.
What is your favorite quote?
I see myself as a positive person and try to be optimistic. I don’t want to see some of my mistakes as losing an opportunity or me failing. Instead I choose to see them as experiences to learn from.
Congratulations Angel on all of your successes!
On behalf of the Department of Business and Administration, please join me in congratulating Gabriel Montero for being selected as the Student of the Month for December 2016.
Gabriel is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at NAU-Yuma. He is striving to graduate in Spring 2018.
In addition to being a full-time student, Gabriel enjoys playing golf, reading fiction, photography, and spending time with his family.
Gabriel was one of twelve students selected to receive the Southern Arizona Logistics Education Organization’s (SALEO) annual scholarship. When asked how he felt about winning the SALEO scholarship, he said, “I was very happy when I heard the news about winning the scholarship. I couldn’t wait to tell my family after receiving the news! I have twin daughters graduating from high school this year, so the news was very encouraging for them. If their father earned a scholarship, maybe they can too (they are far better students). Financial help is available, but students must be willing to put in the time to seek them out and apply. I am very happy and thankful to the SALEO organization for the award.”
Gabriel Montero (center) receives scholarship presented by SALEO President Mike Valencia and Dr. David Parmenter from NAU
Regarding his career plans after graduation, Gabriel is planning to continue to graduate school at NAU. He is also “looking forward to having opportunities open up in the manufacturing planning process. This is an area that I would enjoy working in which requires this degree.” His advice for other students pursuing a logistics degree or career is, “I love the logistics field because it’s the type of degree that will open doors to many diverse areas of business. Many people think logistics is just transportation; however, it is much more than that. The field is very broad since it covers many areas such as procurement, internal logistics, and the outbound process to customers.”
When asked which courses made an impact on him, Gabriel highlighted Sarah Richardson’s Business Communication course which he took this semester. “The course was very well structured and the feedback was excellent. The course has had a positive impact on my job.”
When asked what he believed is the secret to success, Gabriel stated, “I believe that the key to success is to work hard. Work hard and smart to overcome roadblocks; do not be discouraged when it gets difficult. Difficulties and problems should be seen as opportunities that contribute to personal and professional growth.”
Congratulations Gabriel on being the Student of the Month for December 2016!
On behalf of the Department of Business and Administration, please join me in congratulating Jerri Hargrove for being selected as the Student of the Month for August 2016. Jerri was proudly nominated by Professor Jeff Blake, who has been a mentor to her during her time at NAU. Professor Blake said, “Jerri is an excellent student with a very positive attitude.”
After completing the summer term, Jerri will graduate with her Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Management. Jerri lives a busy life. In addition to taking two to three courses per semester, she also juggles her family life, and her many hobbies. Jerri is currently eight months pregnant with her second child and is moving across the country with her family to Charleston, South Carolina. Her many hobbies include arts and crafts, traveling, staying active, and being with her family. She is always up for new challenges. When discussing how Jerri manages her school and daily life, she said, “I really enjoy learning and see it as an opportunity and a privilege. Sounds corny, but it’s true. I find that I am able to perform well in online courses because I am self-driven and I am dedicated to learning something along the way, not just finishing.” She is an inspiration and many students can benefit by adopting her approach.
After graduation, Jerri plans to raise her children, explore their new surroundings in Charleston, and then return to the workforce. She has experience in the dental field as a hygienist, but may also use her degree to do something different in the dental industry such as managing her own office. It is clear that Jerri will be successful in whatever career path she chooses after graduation.
When asked what Jerri likes most about NAU, she says she enjoys the commitment of the professors to the students. Jerri said, “I enjoy when they take the time to get to know students in an online setting. It really brings the course and the college experience to life.” She also enjoys the flexibility of online courses. It allows her to continue her education while working and maintaining her family and social life.
Congratulations Jerri on being the Student of the Month for August 2016! #NAUSOTM #NAUBBASOTM
Barbara Atkinson is our featured alumna for this edition of the NAU B & A Alumni Career Insights blog. Barbara graduated from NAU-Extended Campuses with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree. In her own words, following is Barbara’s career story and insights.
I am currently employed as a contractor “Business Analyst” for an Arizona municipality. I left the information technology field in 2004, when my youngest child, then age 19, moved away from home. I left as a Senior Manager and Enterprise Oracle Database Administrator managing database administrators in 6 data centers in 5 countries. I could not be promoted above Senior Manager because I didn’t have an undergraduate degree. That added significant pain to the excessive unpaid overtime.
When my youngest moved away from home, I didn’t need to make that kind of money anymore, and I wanted a life, so I left. Flash forward to 2008. I had been working in alternative asset investments, which was an education into the bowels of finance and economics that you can’t get in any school. When the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy brought economic activity to a screeching halt, my business dissolved. Plan B was to return to IT, but the rules had changed.
In 2006 when I needed a paycheck, I had a well-paying consulting job in 11 days. In 2008, in 6 months of submitting resumes, I only had 2 telephone interviews. In both interviews, the interviewer said that my experience was exceptional; however, without at least an undergraduate degree I couldn’t be considered. So now I have an undergraduate degree in business administration from NAU. Although I had been out of the IT arena for more than a decade, armed with my undergrad I was able to secure a well-paying consulting position.
My formal title is Lead Business Systems Analyst. I was originally brought on board to facilitate resolution of a very poorly implemented mission critical system. It didn’t take long to realize that the project I was brought on to complete would be completed in a fraction of my contracted time. More projects were added to my workload, and I am typically quite busy with a wide array of tasks that exercise my knowledge and skill sets well. My current workload encompasses a procurement system, a customer service delivery system, business intelligence implementation, and organizational process improvement.
I don’t really have typical days. Today I am working on completing the business requirements and design for an enterprise-wide procurement analytics cube. This will allow users to analyze spend against contract, spend by product category by department by vendor to potentially consolidate vendors, identify vendors with contracts with multiple departments so contracts can be consolidated for optimized pricing, and identify vendor names with multiple vendor numbers for cleanup.
Most days have meetings of some kind. Today there was a meeting with the core IT group to resolve production deployment process problems. Tomorrow morning I’ll be facilitating a meeting between users and developers that uses constructs of the Rapid Application Development (RAD) model that was prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s. I was able to get buy-in from stakeholders that this would be a worthwhile exercise. As the facilitator, I will document the changes and the change priority agreed upon by the developers and the users. I expect the exercise to be very successful.
There is somewhat of an expectation that I will apply for a permanent employment opportunity that is being created. Should I receive an offer for permanent employment, I will have to get an MBA to move up. The thought of going back to school again kind of makes me want to cry, but the municipality footing the bill helps ease the pain. If I do return to school to pursue my MBA, I hope that I can do so at NAU.
Regarding insights about resume writing, it is important to match verbiage and keywords in job requirements. Most employers, including contracting agencies, retrieve stored resumes using keywords. In the technical arena, most recruiters, whether they are in-house or agencies, don’t understand technology and technical skills. When they select a resume to be forwarded to a hiring manager, they do so based on the resume skills and experience matching the skills and experience in the job requirement.
When I begin a job search, I always like to interview for a few positions I would likely never accept. This takes the pressure off me while I re-sharpen my interviewing skills so when I do interview for a job I do want, the interview is relatively flawless. It’s also important to remember that an interview goes both ways.
Congratulations Barbara on earning your BBA degree, your career success and on being our featured NAU B & A alumna.
Snap a picture of yourself celebrating July 4th and post it on our Facebook page or Twitter to enter the Department of Business and Administration’s July 4th Picture Challenge!
We encourage people that take part in the challenge to post the most creative picture of what reminds them of this special day, but it must include themselves in the picture in some way.
Examples could be selfies with fireworks, pets, military, etc. The photo with the most likes, comments or shares will be the winner of this contest. Be sure to tag your photo with #July4thPicChallenge!
The winner’s picture will be posted on the Department of Business and Administration’s homepage banner on Facebook and Twitter for a week starting from Sunday, 7/10 through Sunday, 7/17.
#BBAJuly4thPic; #BAJuly4thPic; #BBAFourthofJuly #BAFourthofJuly #BBAJuly4thSelfie; #BAJuly4thSelfie; #July4th #FourthofJuly #July4thSelfie #July4thPic #Fireworks #NAU #NAUBBA #NAUBA
Maday Villa is our featured alumna for this edition of the NAU B & A Alumni Career Insights blog. Maday graduated from NAU-Extended Campuses in Phoenix with a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree in Fall 2012. Since graduation, she has advanced in her career at Londen Insurance Group, Inc., a life insurance holding company that offers final expense and Medicare insurance products.
Maday is currently the Assistant Vice President of Marketing Operations. In her role, Maday is responsible for managing the implementation of improvement initiatives in marketing, developing managers and future leaders within the marketing area, overseeing portions of the distribution channel and supervising the Spanish language business division.
When asked which courses helped her prepare for her career, Maday highlighted the following four courses:
- BBA 305W Effective Business Communications. Not only did I learn the value of oral and written professional communication, but also how to listen effectively.
- BBA 360 Teams and Project Management. I learned how to work well with a variety of people – those with different personalities, goals, study habits, etc.
- BBA 497 Independent Study. In this course, my eyes were opened to a comprehensive overview of a corporation, its components and how it operates.
- BBA 490C Strategic Management. In addition to learning about strategic business decisions, I realized that there were a lot of things that I didn’t know and that was okay because I was going to learn them.
When asked what advice she would offer someone who just graduated and is starting a job search, Maday said, “Don’t wait for a career opportunity to present itself, create that opportunity and then make sure that your social interactions (what you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) are appropriate. Employers do look at social media – no happy hour photos!”
Regarding conducting a job search, she emphasized the importance of keeping your resume honest, updated and easy to read. Make sure your resume has something that draws the reader in and sets you apart from all the other applicants. Also, your resume should be free of typos and run-on sentences. Have several people proofread it and list all of your relevant experience including any volunteer work or experience in academic clubs.
Regarding interviewing, she stressed arriving a few minutes early for your interview. Also, know that your appearance matters – dress well, you should look professional, clean, and polished. Lastly, be prepared! Do your research and learn about the company and the position you are applying for. Read about the company’s mission and values to make sure they are aligned with your own values.
Maday concluded the discussion by stating, “Primarily the BBA program helped me build my confidence and become a more well-rounded individual.” Congratulations Maday on your career success and on being our featured NAU B & A alumna.
Students, Are you interested in social media? If so, consider working with NAU Extended Campuses’ Department of Business and Administration as part of a 3 credit BBA 497 independent study project. The Department of Business and Administration is looking for students with a basic understanding of the digital media landscape for the Summer 2016 and Fall 2016 terms. This is an online opportunity so you may work from any location e.g., Yuma, Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, out of state, etc.
Erika Peña, a BBA student with an emphasis in marketing, is working as the Department of Business and Administration’s current social media super-student this term. She is doing excellent work!
- Monitor and post content on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.), blog posts (WordPress) and forums using Hootsuite social media scheduling software
- Identify and implement creative and impactful social media projects
- Promote NAU’s Department of Business and Administration using social networks and outreach strategies
- Learn website and social media optimization techniques
This opportunity is a great way to learn how to effectively use social media in an organizational environment and an excellent addition to any resume. Contact Dr. Paige Leister at Paige.Miller-Leister@nau.edu to find out how you can learn more about social media, improve your career opportunities with this practical experience, and earn 3 credits.
Maurica Rozan was named the Department of Business & Administration’s March
2016 Student of the Month. Maurica was proudly nominated by her fellow student Veronica Villasenor.
Veronica stated, “Maurica is a hard worker and a leader in our classes. She is always ready to learn and as classmates, we feed off her energy. I can personally attest that Maurica has been a role model for me during my journey here at NAU.”
Maurica is a senior who is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Management. She is striving to graduate early in December 2016.
In addition to being a full-time student, Maurica works 50 hours a week. Apart from her busy schedule, she just bought a house and is planning for her wedding. Congratulations! She likes to spend time with her fiance and friends every opportunity she gets when she is not wedding planning, working, going to school, or doing homework. She likes simple gatherings where they always have a good time laughing.
Regarding her career plans after graduation, she stated, “I would like to move up in the company where I currently work. Once I get more experience, I really want to open my own company. I have a few different options in mind; I want to do the business aspects of running a business.” When asked what her secret to success is, she said, “I think my secret to success is hard work and dedication. When I first started, I was not sure about my degree so I wasn’t enjoying school. Now that I have picked a major that I am interested in and understand it, it has kept me driven.” Maurica also advises students to pick a major they understand and find interesting to be successful and happy.
Congratulations Maurica Rozan on being selected as the March 2016 Student of the Month! Well done. #NAUBBASOTM #NAUSOTM
Erika Peña was named the Department of Business & Administration’s February 2016 Student of the Month. Erika was proudly nominated by NAU’s Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) business club President, Mark Creech.
Erika is responsible for marketing and recruiting for PBL. Creech stated, “Whether maintaining the club’s website or Facebook page, she is determined to leave a lasting and positive impression. She brings a high degree of creative energy, dedication, and professional demeanor. In addition, the traits I admire most about Erika are her ability to suppress her natural shyness and her positive can-do attitude.”
Erika is planning to graduate in December 2016 with her Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree with an emphasis in Marketing. Regarding her career plans after graduation she stated, “I would like to go into marketing, specifically advertising. Lately I have been looking into the new MBA program.” When asked what her secret to success is she stated, “I think that being patient, taking things step by step, and keeping a positive mind and attitude can help achieve great things.”
Congratulations Erika Peña on being selected as the February 2016 Student of the Month! Well done. #NAUBBASOTM #NAUSOTM