Aerial view of Champlain College's campus in the fall.

Online Student Stories: Kendra G.

Champlain College Online

Kendra Gonzalez graduated from Champlain College Online with her MBA in June 2020. She currently works at Comcast as an analyst and enrolled in Champlain by way of her company’s partnership within Champlain’s truED Alliance.

 

Champlain College Online Alumna Kendra G. smiles at camera.

What was your motivation for going back to school? What made you choose Champlain?

I originally graduated from college in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Soon after, I started working for Comcast as an administrative assistant. When I first joined Comcast, I had heard something about educational benefits being available to employees, but at the time I was a contractor employee. In 2016 when I landed a permanent role, I reached out to learn more about tuition reimbursement options, but I never followed through with it.

By 2018, I was working for Comcast full-time as an analyst. Learning about the truED Program at Champlain College Online was a complete coincidence. I was out getting lunch and happened to pass through a hallway where a Champlain representative was hosting a lunch-and-learn session with Comcast employees. I learned about the truED preferred tuition available to Comcast employees and decided to collect more information.

I ended up submitting an application to enroll in Champlain’s online MBA program. While my background up to that point was in accounting, I knew I wanted to expand my knowledge in finance while not being boxed into an accounting career path. The MBA program seemed to be the perfect combination to advance my finance expertise while also gaining business management knowledge.

Once I submitted my application and received that first email from Champlain, it all clicked for me. I received an email that said something like, “it’s nice to hear from you again!” and I recalled having reached out to learn about educational benefits a few years back. For a moment, I thought about how silly it was that in the two years it took me to submit my application, I could have actually earned my MBA by now! It’s funny to think about.

Tell us about your experience with your instructors and/or classmates.

I didn’t know what to expect when I first began learning in Champlain’s online classroom. It was very unique to be learning from instructors and taking classes with peers all while being fully remote and not seeing each other.

I remember being in a group project at one point and was really stumped about how that could possibly work in a virtual setting. However, I was surprised to discover it worked pretty well. I was connected with a group of students from all around the country. We approached our group project so differently, but our differences truly fostered our connections. We learned how to communicate with each other effectively and took turns sharing details about our personal lives outside of the online classroom. I think these connections helped us bond as classmates while also accomplishing our tasks at hand.

Asking my peers questions and getting to know them on a personal level actually helped me later on. The relationships I created in the beginning stages of my MBA program led to me virtually bump into peers now and again in future classes. It was refreshing to be able to recognize someone’s name or personal story and say, “I remember you!”

As for my instructors, I learned a lot from all of them and really felt challenged in my program. My senior capstone project particularly stands out to me. It was a project I completely owned from beginning to end utilizing my gained knowledge from my MBA journey. The feedback and guidance my instructor gave me during this time were truly invaluable. Having such an engaging faculty member led me to an end result that was far better than I expected. I was inspired and learned to think about things differently.

What, in your opinion, makes Champlain unique?

I believe that Champlain did a fantastic job communicating information to me proactively so that I always knew what to expect next. The online learning platform, Canvas, was especially helpful. The entire process of logging in to check my assignments and complete my work was seamless. My whole online experience was so smooth. I am not sure if I would have had such a streamlined process at other colleges.

What impact do you envision your MBA having on your long-term career path?

Having my MBA has given me a strong finance and business management background that I constantly refer back to in my career. The future may present challenges and nuances, but my MBA has given me the tools and skills to understand what it means to make decisions for a large corporation and how to strategize processes to run a business efficiently.

I think, long-term, my MBA has the potential to open up future opportunities for me. I am really happy in my current role but if I ever wanted to grow into a managerial position down the road, I think I have the necessary skills, experience, and knowledge to do that. I have a competitive edge and am a stronger professional for it.

What advice would you give to someone considering going back to school at Champlain?

Do it! Don’t let anything stop you. Whatever barriers you think you have standing between you and your academic/career goals are surmountable. You can overcome any obstacles in your way.

If it’s an issue of having the time, I can tell you firsthand that the courses are so flexible. If you’re worried about the program taking too long to complete, I promise you that it will fly by. If you’re nervous about managing the workload, I guarantee that you’ll find the work is easy to prioritize because everything is structured so well.

The Champlain community is there to help you, guide you, and support you through the entire process. Going back to school at an online college was way better than I expected. I was able to fit an MBA program into my personal and professional routine with ease. I’m sure you can do the same!

 

About truED

Are you curious about Champlain’s truED program? Our online college degrees are designed in partnership with workforce development professionals and talent and recruitment experts, with a laser focus on skills gaps, workforce trends, and market demand. truED offers affordable, career-focused learning that enables employees to flourish and organizations to grow. truED students can earn an accredited college degree from a nonprofit college committed to helping them achieve their career goals quickly. Expect more, pay less with truED and Champlain College Online. Learn more.

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