Choosing CityU (Again): Going from Bachelors to Masters After a Decade
City University of Seattle started as City College in 1973, with the mission of providing flexible options for adults who are looking to further their education while still working full time. CityU’s mission has not changed since then and in 2007, Christina Young heard about CityU’s mission and knew this was the school that would fit her schedule. “After leaving the Army ROTC Scholarship program for personal reasons, I had to start working to make ends meet and further my career. I worked full time while taking a full load of community college classes, but I had to move several times and transferred my credits to new schools,” said Christina. After going to four different community colleges in four towns and two states, she ended up in Seattle with a variety of college credits. “In 2007, I knew I wanted to finish my degree – I had the preliminary class credits, and after hearing a CityU ad on the radio, it sounded like a great option, since I was still working fulltime,” Christina said.
After applying to CityU, Christina completed her goal and finished her degree with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, but she knew she wanted to go farther in her career. “My initial degree opened the doors to start working in accounting, but ten years later, I felt stuck. I didn’t know how to advance in my job, and I looked at CityU again – I thought the Master’s in ProfessionalAccounting would be the next best step for my career,” Christina said.
However, after taking a few courses, Christina didn’t think that the MPA program was quite the right fit. “I wanted to get my Master’s but with more of a business emphasis. I spoke with my advisor, and they suggested I transfer to the MBA program with an emphasis in entrepreneurial studies or accounting. I wanted to expand my understanding in both areas, so I chose to go with a dual emphasis,” Christina said.
As she put the work into her courses, while still maintaining a full-time job, Christina started applying what she was learning to her new bookkeeping business. However, with stress from a new business, on top of working full time, plus school, Christina felt pulled in too many directions. “I still wanted to work at my current company, which is why I chose the dual emphasis – I could look into getting my CPA and still work with small businesses. But now I was starting to question the core reasons for starting my own business and began seeing the potential in using what I was learning towards pursuing management instead,” Christina said.
Not only did the entrepreneurial emphasis help her with her small business, but Christina learned during her courses that many large, successful businesses are built upon an entrepreneurial foundation.
“The entrepreneurial mindset thrives in so many businesses, as I saw from a coursebook, The Lean Startup, which I used a lot during my MBA. Learning about this mindset and how both startups and large companies use it, for example, small-batch processing – rolling out small batches of new products, or updates to existing products, to test the validity of a business offering against live market data – helped me understand that an entrepreneur-at-heart can find opportunities in either their own business or with a career with an established company. I don’t have to choose between my entrepreneurial spirit and my career. I truly can have both.”Christina said.
MOVING FORWARD WITH THE MBA PROGRAM
Being in the MBA program has encouraged Christina to continue to explore her business idea, starting from the foundation. Christina said, “My professor encouraged me to take a step back and restructure my business plan. At the time, I had no strategy and was taking on any client (paying or not). After restructuring my company, I knew I wanted the end result to be teaching smaller companies to run their own bookkeeping, instead of me doing it for them.”
Now that Christina is a Class of 2020 graduate, she is taking the education she received from CityU, and reflecting on how she has grown since she started the program. “I went into this program with certain expectations and certain scenarios that would help me achieve the goals that I had already set for myself, but my courses were challenging my goals, my identity, and how I wanted to earn my livelihood in the world. Between pursuing a management program at work, my original CPA goal, or building my company – these were all options I didn’t know I had when I started this program. In the end, I learned tools that I can use at any time and will allow me to pursue so many options in life.”
As a CityU alumnus, Christina has one piece of advice for anyone looking into the MBA “Go in with an open mind and be ready to be challenged in the best way.”
Visit CityU.edu to learn more about CityU’s Master of Business Administration program.