Brandis Rencher graduated from Champlain College Online (CCO) in 2021 with her master’s in business administration (MBA) with a concentration in advanced management. She currently works as a human resources analyst for a school district in Metro Atlanta.
What was your motivation for going back to school?
After I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology at Tuskegee University - a historic site and national landmark in Alabama - I quickly realized that in order to progress at a swift pace in the corporate world I would need to earn my master’s degree. I always believed I was destined for great things and successfully completing graduate school was going to be one of those great things for me. My mom earned her master’s degree and always encouraged me to do the same. I needed a boost in confidence after undergrad and Champlain’s MBA program was the boost I needed to achieve greatness.
How did you hear about, and then choose, Champlain?
As aforementioned, my mom earned her master’s degree at a young age. She then worked for the federal government for many years and received an email about Champlain’s truED Program, which gives employees and their qualifying family members preferred tuition on all of their programs.
I was always drawn to business, as my parents have been entrepreneurs for as long as I can remember. In fact, I’ve been running a business since I was 10 years old! Back then, our city’s mayor often wore faux flower pins and I thought they were just the cutest fashion trend. I decided to make my own line of them and locally sold my handmade products. I ended up creating my own shop called BO’s Gift Shop, which I launched on Etsy and still run today. My mom and I have now expanded and rebranded the business into a luxury boutique specializing in vintage luxury items, sterling silver jewelry, and more. We’ve renamed the shop BO & Liv Vintage.
My fascination with and interest in all things business inspired me to pursue Champlain’s MBA program. Without a doubt, it was the perfect graduate program for me.
Tell us about your experience with your advisor, instructors, and/or classmates.
My experience with the Champlain community overall was absolutely amazing. Every instructor and staff member I encountered was so warm, welcoming, and wanted me to succeed. It was a bit funny because people I barely knew were rooting for me and had such positive things to say, showing how much they believed in me and my goals.
Admittedly, I had some reservations about learning online. I was nervous about being “just a number” in an online program, but truthfully my experience was quite the opposite. Everyone who came to know me asked me how they could help make my online learning experience better.
My advisor, Sarah, was a particularly incredible resource to me. I changed my concentration at one point in my program and Sarah uplifted me greatly. She used all the right words and had a positive tone that kept my experience consistently hopeful. A lot of people I know did not get this kind of one-on-one support and attention. I am so thankful I did and believe I am better for it.
Champlain’s community cares deeply. Almost every class I took featured a different instructor and each person was consistently positive. If I could earn my master’s all over again within this program, I would.
What do you do for work? How has your Champlain experience impacted your work?
I work as a human resources analyst for a school district in Metro Atlanta where I function as my team’s lead. Earning my MBA helped me immensely in this role. A lot of the work I do involves processing changes, ensuring my team knows and understands our SOPs, and creating and implementing said SOPs.
I was good at my job before getting my MBA, but now I’m great at it. I did not realize how much information I was going to retain when I was in the thick of my program but I now see how much of what I learned has stuck with me. For example, one of my classes required everyone to complete a personality test to determine what kind of work style we have. I decided to bring this test to my team and learned what work style each of my team members responds to best. I don’t think I would have known to do that without Champlain. Now I feel like I have the tools and resources to be the best leader I can be for my team.
What advice would you give to someone considering going back to school at Champlain?
I would say step out on faith and just do it. I’ve always heard people say things like they don’t want to start their degrees because it would take too long to finish but to that I say time is going to pass anyways, so why not go for it? Why wouldn’t you want to propel your career forward and boost your confidence? Going back to school has the potential to do all of that for you.
If you’re considering starting or finishing a degree, I say give Champlain a try. Everyone you come into contact with here will make sure your goals are met and prepare you for the real world.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I appreciated my MBA program for so many reasons but mainly because my time at Champlain pushed me to think about where I want my career to go long-term. I now see that I can blend my undergraduate degree in psychology with my MBA to someday pursue a doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology which is exactly where I want my professional career to take me.
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