:: Spotlight: Sarah Hernandez

Posted: January 3, 2012

Business Foundations Certificate to MBA

Sarah Hernandez is an ambitious professional with big plans. A few years ago, Sarah decided to go back to school while continuing to work full-time. She knew this plan would require dedication and excellent time management skills. Fortunately, the Business Foundations Certificate (BFC) program from University Extension (UEX) was there to help her prepare.

Sarah graduated from Claremont McKenna College as part of the Class of 2000 with a degree in biology and psychology. Taking advantage of her science background, Sarah began a career in pharmaceutical sales with Johnson & Johnson. Several years later, facing a tough economy and still seeking personal and professional growth, Sarah was ready to go back to school for an advanced degree. She was considering MBA programs and had been out of school for seven years. Researching business course options, she discovered UEX and the BFC. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to find out if she really wanted to pursue an MBA.

Her alma mater, Claremont, is a small college, so Sarah was a little intimidated at the thought of taking courses on The University of Texas at Austin campus. She discovered that her UEX courses had small class sizes, which “provided a great learning environment with lots of interaction and group discussions.” About half the students in her classes were busy professionals, too.

Taking classes in the evenings, while working, was hard, but Sarah says, “It was worth it.” By successfully completing the courses required to earn the BFC, Sarah demonstrated her academic abilities and time management skills, both of which are vital for anyone who is contemplating an MBA program while working full-time. Taking business classes with UEX not only informed Sarah about various business disciplines and confirmed her desire to pursue an MBA, she feels that it also helped strengthen her application to MBA schools.

When asked what advice she would give to someone considering the BFC, Sarah says, “Do it! The program is very useful for grad school applications and/or your current job. My present employer highly values my Certificate, offered tuition reimbursement for the courses and it was used as one of my qualifications for a promotion!”

Sarah was accepted into both the Texas Evening MBA (TEMBA) program at UT’s McCombs School of Business and the MBA in Healthcare Administration program offered by the Hankamer School of Business at Baylor. However, a work transfer sent her back to southern California, where she was also accepted into Pepperdine University’s Fully Employed MBA program.

Sarah will complete her MBA and graduate in 2012. She wants to continue working in the pharmaceutical industry, perhaps moving into a management position.

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