Student Spotlight: Edna Smith, MBA '16
How did you feel at the start of California State University, Monterey Bay’s Online MBA program versus the end? What were your expectations, and were they met, exceeded or changed?
My feelings from the start of the Online MBA program versus at the end were miles apart. The beginning can feel overwhelming as it is an adjustment period, and a main priority is learning how to use the online platform.
Once I learned my way around the program’s expectations, it was much easier to complete tasks. A major expectation I had was to be able to apply the theory learned to realistic situations.
Other expectations included the ability to navigate financial statements with confidence, build on my knowledge from my finance and international business degrees, and expand my knowledge of organizational effectiveness. The Traditional track met these expectations and more.
What are some skills that you learned through the program that you now use in your professional career?
One of the most valuable skills I learned is the ability to conduct research. I am currently working as a research analyst and more often than not I find myself saying, "I remember this from one of my courses."
The skills I learned have helped me tremendously in my new career. I analyze large amounts of data. I am able to evaluate it and provide feedback and in-depth analysis.
Moreover, I now have a broad understanding of how a business operates, from behind the scenes to the customers. I am able to see how all functions work together and how important that is for an organization's success.
Would you recommend the CSUMB Online MBA program to someone?
I would absolutely recommend the program to those who are willing to fully commit and disciplined. The program requires two years of prioritizing effectively.
What project from your program are you most proud of?
Although I enjoyed working in groups, one of the projects I am most proud of is creating a country profile in the Global Business course.
Each week I was able to conduct thorough research in my selected country. The idea was to present this to an angel investor, which made it realistic, and I was able to propose ideas based on detailed research and speak with conviction while referencing my findings.
What has earning a master’s degree from CSUMB truly meant to you?
Earning a master’s degree from CSUMB meant diversifying my educational background, broadening my business knowledge, enabling greater opportunities for new experiences, and opening the door to a world full of infinitely greater possibilities for my future.
There is certainly a sense of accomplishment, pride and fulfillment when I realized I know what it takes to pursue my dreams and achieve my goals. With a mix of commitment, persistence and hard work, anything can be achievable.
Lastly, it means a lot to my family that I continued my education. My family and I immigrated to the United States when I was 13 years old, and despite the obstacles, I have learned that persistence is key in my success.
Throughout my educational journey at CSUMB, I discovered that I formed a new identity, new values and new attitudes. The cohort and instructors affected my personal life positively and contributed to my intellectual growth.
As an alumna, what tips would you give to someone who is coming into CSUMB’s Online MBA program?
Be honest during discussions, and take the time to conduct thorough research. It not only benefits you but those reading your content.
Prioritize effectively; having a strategic plan for how to complete tasks makes a difference. Even though everything is online, I was in the habit of writing deadlines down and creating my own deadlines for discussions. Create a weekly schedule, because time management is crucial to your success.
Try not to get discouraged when completing monotonous or difficult projects. In the end, it all makes sense, and it is worth it, so find ways to stay motivated.
If you’d like to learn more about the program from our students, hear what alumnus and 2017 MBA Graduate Award Winner Jose Garcias has to say about his time at CSUMB.