How it started and how it’s going: FIU grads move to the next level in their careers
May 27, 2022, 12:00 PM.
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Graduates recount their experiences with online learning and how their degree programs helped them advance their careers.
A college degree is an enormous achievement. It shows commitment, maturity, tenacity and drive. According to Pew Research, one in three Americans ages 25 and older hold a bachelor’s degree. Even rarer, only about 13 percent of U.S. citizens hold a master’s degree. But once obtained, many graduates wonder after their degree, what’s next?
Regardless of the level of education, an advanced degree can offer graduates an opportunity to increase their professionalism on the job, knowledge and skills. It can also help with navigating promotions and move them up the professional ladder. The following five graduates used online learning to obtain their education. Each achieved next-level goals after they completed their degrees through career advancement and industry leaps. Resoundingly, what made the difference was simple: opportunity.
1. Career preparation
Healthcare MBA, 2013
Director, Physician Practices
Memorial Hospital West
Today: Chief Executive Officer, Memorial Hospital West
Vedner Guerrier always found purpose in helping physicians with process improvement because it affects patient care. When he started his MBA in Healthcare at FIU, fully online, it offered him the time management he was looking for to grow his career while he continued to learn.
“I would say the degree was essential in my career. The cliché that you need to have the paper was true in my case. The degree helped further validate my abilities as a leader and allowed me to be prepared when other opportunities presented themselves,” he says. “I truly believe that my education helped me. Besides the MBA, having achieved a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification at FIU has also helped advance my career and my ability to solve complex problems in care delivery.”
2. Business professionalism
Theodore MooreM.S. Hospitality Management, 2014
Assistant Front Office Manager
Hyatt Regency, Miami
Today: Assistant General Manager, Concord Hospitality Enterprises, Washington D.C.
When Theodore Moore started his M.S. in Hospitality Management , he envisioned himself becoming a general manager for a hotel one day. At the time, he was in his first and second leadership roles. As an assistant front desk manager for the Hyatt Regency in Miami, he soaked up all he could about asset management and revenue concepts and looked forward to putting his knowledge to use soon. As a graduate in 2015, he moved up steadily in his career.
“My leaders recognize my master’s degree because of the reputation of FIU. I’ve had opportunities because of my master’s degree and because of my own career growth. Together, my education and experience have impacted the quality of the person I have become and all of it has been my choice. There are a lot of options and there are different challenges, but FIU was my choice.”
Today, Moore is an assistant general manager in Washington, D.C. for Concord Hospitality Enterprises.
3. Unfettered determination
Cesar OchoaB.S. Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communication, 2020
Senior Digital Recruiter
Today: Sourcing Specialist, Google
Cesar Ochoa dared to dream big. The native of Peru, came to America at 13, moved to Miami and transferred to Florida International University with his associate degree. Ochoa was largely on his own, navigating the harsh reality of big-city life, but he had a heart’s desire that spurred his determination. Working at Robert Half as a recruiter, he graduated in 2020 and with a B.S. in Public Relations, Advertising and Applied Communications . Not long after graduation, he decided to make an industry leap that landed him where he is today: a recruiter for Google.
“The knowledge I gained in my program and through the Global Learning program online helped me develop a global mindset to be more prepared to approach and assess people for recruitment. FIU prepared me to work with a multinational company,” he affirms.
4. Working while going to school
Ali SegoviaB.S. Electrical Engineering, Cybersecurity and Embedded Systems, 2020
B.S. Internet of Things, 2019
Cyber Security Consultant
Today: Security Consultant, Microsoft
Alexandria Segovia, an FIU 2019 Worlds Ahead graduate came back to FIU to complete her second bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineerin g, a degree she earned the following year, fully online. As one of FIU’s first graduates of the internet of things bachelor’s degree program, she secured a cybersecurity internship with United Data Technologies and worked for the company as a cybersecurity engineer, until she found her newest position as a security consultant at Microsoft.
“In so many industries, the fundamental goals are simple: safety and security. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first graduates of Florida International University’s internet of things bachelor’s degree program. The program, which is fully online, trained me fully and offered many opportunities,” says Segovia. “Working throughout my education helped me gain a lot of experience that I wouldn't otherwise have if it wasn't for FIU online classes.”
5. From FIU to career
Shahid UllahMaster of Health Services Administration, 2018
John Knox Village of Florida
Today: Assistant Controller, John Knox Village of Florida
When Shahid Ullah looked at degree programs, his goal was to find a university that would help merge his finance background from Pakistan into a healthcare career in the U.S. He settled on the Master of Health Services Administration and was able to secure an internship position with John Knox Village of Florida. Shortly after graduating in 2018 and the internship, Ullah moved further up with the organization as a senior accountant. In this capacity, he worked tirelessly to ensure the retired elderly residents were safe amid COVID-19 while ensuring the staff members did not lose their jobs due to reductions in admissions. Because of his efforts and commitment, Ullah was recently promoted to assistant controller.
“COVID-19 was a very big surprise, one we anticipated, but it’s also been the greatest opportunity. I feel lucky to be part of such a big adventure; to be a part of the rescue team,” he says.