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The Importance of Community: Learning More and Giving Back

February 12, 2021
Daisy Yepez Headshot

Everyone who pursues an MBA has personal reasons for taking on those challenges. Many are spurred by a strong sense of ethics and social responsibility, while visions of executive careers and salaries drive others. The importance of community is at the heart of Daisy Yepez’s goals. For this MBA ’21 candidate, success means giving back to the place she loves through a business that she’ll create and make profitable.

Priority: Higher Education

Originally from Monterey County, Daisy is an accountant for Associated Students Incorporated (ASI).

“ASI is the student government of the CSU system,” she explained. “We're the voice of about 30,000 students. We provide multiple services, and ultimately our goal is to help students get involved and be part of their campus community: ‘Participate. Join a club, join a committee, we're here for you.’"

Though she loves her work, she recognized that it wasn’t the ending point of her career or her education.

“My own goal to set a good example, not only to my siblings, but also the students that I work with every day. I encourage them to pursue their degrees and continue educating themselves, and so I have to do the same. I knew that an MBA was something that I needed to get under my belt.”

Living in Sacramento, Attending Class in Monterey

With a job she loves and a college campus as her workplace, it would have been a natural choice for Daisy to continue her education close to her office. CSUMB, however, held particular appeal for her.

“I'm a strong believer in the CSU system and ultimately want to return to Monterey County,” she explained. “The online program was important to me, especially having work/­life balance, because I'm in my 20s and I don't want to be stuck. I also want to be able to take care of myself. So [an online program was] the perfect balance: getting an education, having some time for myself, and continuing to work.”

Organization and Collaboration

Talking about work/life balance is easy but creating and sustaining it can be difficult, especially when graduate school is part of the mix. Fortunately, as Daisy put it, “I'm very structured. I do believe in the calendar and being scheduled.”

She went on to explain, “I've been able to balance my time. I work full time, Monday to Friday, so I do that first. Afterward, I check in and tackle my assignments, whether looking at my calendar and preparing for deadlines or checking in with my classmates or group projects. I figure out what I’ve got to do on a daily basis, and then I try to do my assignments beforehand. So if I'm able to get those out of the way, then I have a half a day or a full day to myself, which is the goal. I'll be computer-free or laptop-free and just relax.”

Though able to manage her time and responsibilities, Daisy acknowledged that things get more challenging when you have a whole online learning community to consider.

“We all have our own personal schedules, and when you're working with the group, it's important to communicate with each other,” she said. “We all work together to accommodate the person that might be feeling overwhelmed. So that has been a huge part of the success of our assignments and our course: working with our teammates to accommodate for each other and ultimately get the assignment done.”

Graduate School in a Pandemic

In Daisy’s first year in the program, the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the world. While universities and other employers across the United States scrambled to establish work-from-home protocols, the 100 percent online coursework at CSUMB continued without interruption.

“Through the pandemic, there wasn't really a gap or an awkward transition to my online classes,” she recalled. “Already being an online program, it was set up to provide those tools that were needed, so it was an easy transition. Either through Zoom or through emails, it was already set up to continue the program. The experience has been awesome.”

Knowing What to Keep

Alumni may talk fondly of a program’s important takeaways, but Daisy spoke of what she’s learning with the immediacy of one still deep in her studies.

“Working with students in a role of wanting to help and guide them, and working with a bigger pool of people … it's important to be able to communicate effectively and work with a lot of different people that you typically don't agree with,” she explained. “Not agreeing with people isn't bad; you [need to know] how to have a good debate and come to an understanding for the betterment of the company.”

“[The CSUMB program is] fun because I'm either learning something new or expanding my skills. My favorite thing from the program is keeping in touch with my cohort and the professors. Anyone could benefit from an MBA program, even if you didn't receive your undergrad in a business major.”

Looking to the Future

Daisy’s goals extend well beyond graduation. With a strong interest in ethical issues in business, she has the sort of long-term vision that makes parents and community leaders deeply proud.

“I want to use my MBA to give back to my community in Monterey County through tax services, financial support, payroll help for small businesses in the agricultural field, and tools and tips for students who are unaware of [how to pay their] taxes. I want to start a business that creates profit, but profit’s not the important [goal], at least not for me. I strongly love the people aspect. Without the people, you wouldn't have a business. It’s [about] being aware and becoming a responsible leader.”

“To me, responsible business means taking a proactive approach toward caring for the people in your organization, enforcing sustainability efforts, being aware of your surroundings, and adapting to the new day-to-day. Holding high ethical standards in your company, which ultimately results in profit.”

Power Your Dreams With Your MBA

Whether your heart is in profit, people, planet, ethics, or equity—or any combination of them—the CSUMB Online MBA program, with its focus on responsible business, can put your goals within reach. Review the curriculum and talk through your questions with one of our Admissions Advisors. Schedule an appointment today.