Lowe's business development analyst Roxana Guevara takes home improvement seriously, and her efforts at self-improvement aren't far behind.
"I always knew I wanted to get my MBA," she said. "I decided to get work experience first. I wanted to advance my knowledge and skills and grow within corporate America. The timing felt perfect."
Guevara enrolled in the online Master of Business Administration program at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She is on track to graduate in December 2022.
"A friend of mine who went through the program told me about it, so I did some research and liked what I saw," she said. "I read several of the student testimonials and felt like it was a perfect fit.
"I believe that opportunity changes everything and enrolling at UNC Pembroke was smooth and straightforward."
After completing a four-month internship at Lowe's, Guevara became a full-time auditor in the Charlotte area. She earned a promotion to business development analyst five months before enrolling at UNC Pembroke.
The flexibility of earning a degree online was a big selling point of the program for Guevara. She completed some online courses during undergrad, so she brought some experience to the table as an online student in the MBA program.
"Earning a degree online is working out well," she said. "I can log on in the evenings, complete my assignments and follow along. The online format is even better than I imagined. I don't have to drive to campus for class, which is nice."
Guevara was born and raised in Miami. After earning an associate degree from Miami Dade College in 2017, she graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Florida two years later.
"When I was at Florida, there was a posting for a 10-week summer internship at Lowe's in the student portal," she said. "I wanted to join corporate America, but I wasn't sure where or exactly what I wanted to do.
"I applied for the internship, got an offer and went 800 miles away from home. I love where I work. I am glad I took that chance. It's been great. My family has been supportive of all my goals and that has made the experience even better."
So far, Managerial Economics, taught by Dr. Xinyan Shi, is Guevara's favorite course in the online MBA in Business Analytics curriculum.
"I learned so much useful information in that class," she said. "You can apply what you learn to real-world scenarios and better understand efficient use of resources."
Guevara is finding use for the knowledge she is gaining in the online MBA program in her current role.
"It's applicable," she said. "In the Managerial Accounting course, we learned about understanding financial reports from a manager's perspective and how to make decisions.
"Having an undergraduate degree in business helps me, but I'm glad this program challenges me and takes it a step further."
Pomp and Circumstance
Guevara has more than one milestone to look forward to next year. She is engaged to marry Bryan Odaiyar in April 2023. She plans to go from the graduation stage in December to the altar a few months later.
"My friends and family are very excited," she said. "I am a first-generation college student, so they couldn't be any prouder of me.
"I am sure they are looking forward to the day I get to walk across the stage. There's no way I will miss it."
For now, Guevara is relishing the opportunity to learn from the course material, her professors, and her online classmates.
"The program is great," she said. "I still feel challenged. You must put in the work, but the resources are there. You also get to collaborate with other students. It's nice seeing different opinions and perspectives.
"I would tell anyone considering this program to just do it. The knowledge you will gain helps you every day. The MBA program gives you all the tools needed to obtain your career goal."
Guevara, who recently took up golf, believes that having a master's degree will move her burgeoning career to the next level. She looks forward to seeing what the future has in store.
"This degree will help create some job opportunities for me," she said. "I want to grow into a senior executive role and eventually serve on the board of a public company. The MBA program is setting me up for success."
Learn more about UNC Pembroke's online MBA in Business Analytics program.
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