Graduate Ambassador at Portland State University
Program: Master of Business Administration
Graduation Year: 2019
I co-founded and directed a very small arts and youth nonprofit for ten years, during which I was inspired to pursue a BA in Child & Family Studies from the School of Social Work at Portland State University. Once I graduated, I began looking for a stable job that would utilize my education and experience. I had a very hard time finding anything that offered full-time work and paid a wage that would support me and my family, so I returned to school to pursue a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Public Administration from PSU’s College of Urban and Public Affairs. During that time, the political climate was changing and nonprofits were wondering how it would affect their funding, which is what led me to the MBA program in the School of Business.
I have been a student at PSU on and off for the last eight years. It is my second home! I love the campus and all of the resources and opportunities that are available. The MBA program is nothing like everything my progressive (radical really) parents warned me about. Every class addresses issues of sustainability and social impact woven throughout. The content is challenging and stretches me to fill the gaps that led me to pursue this program. What I find most valuable is acquiring and understanding tools that assist in solving complex business problems that translate to any industry. I also really value the connections I make with my cohort peers. The bonds we form combined with the variety and depth of experience they have has really aided my success in this program.
If money were no object, I would pick up where I left off when I began my secondary education journey and run an empowerment program for young women. Since money is a necessity to support my family, my more realistic goal is to become an Executive Director of an established nonprofit organization that serves youth, or to become an executive in a benefit corporation (B Corp) that benefits positive youth development or advocacy.
Find a school that has a program that aligns with both your values and your goals. Do your research, talk to people at the school, and visit the campus if you can. Don’t get too hung up on whether your life has enough capacity to take on this important step. Many of my cohort members have full-time jobs and families, and we are getting through somehow!