Posted on May 11, 2017 by Joanna Carver

MS Business class photograph When the first cohort of students in the Master of Science in Business program receive their diplomas this Saturday, they’ll graduate knowing that their new degree has placed them on the pathway to professional success.

The goal of the program is to provide non-business majors with a solid foundation in business. The inaugural class, which was 50% Hispanic and 43% female, featured 31 students from a variety of disciplines including biology, communications, kinesiology, psychology and political science.

The one-year program includes coursework in traditional subject areas such as accounting, finance, management, marketing and statistics as well as professional development training.

“I didn’t have a vision for what I wanted to do,” said Elizabeth Cook , who received her undergraduate degree in English. “But, because of this program I’m more well-rounded and marketable in the job market.”

Cook completed an internship with Principle Auto BMW of San Antonio this spring and received a full-time offer as an assistant service manager with them immediately after graduation.

Coming from diverse academic backgrounds, the students credit the faculty with making the curriculum relatable and in taking a personal interest in the students.

“Initially I was scared at first, but the professors made it easy for us to understand the subject matter,” said Brittany Castilleja , a native of Houston. “After my undergraduate degree in kinesiology I felt lost. Now I have a clear pathway.”

Castilleja has been hired with Octapharma Plasma. Following six months of training, she will be named an assistant manager.

Capri Schafner was drawn to the program because of its one-year format. Schafner was employed at UTSA’s Texas Sustainable Energy Research Institute part time, but she was looking for an opportunity to advance her career.

“The master’s degree helped me rethink my career path and gave me the confidence to branch out,” said Schafner, who completed her undergraduate at Texas A&M. “Utilizing my background in English and my new business training, I was offered a position as a technical writer at Southwest Research Institute.”

Students with defined career paths also found that the program opened their eyes to new career possibilities. Christian Pastrano planned to go to physical therapy school after completing this program. Now the kinesiology major has taken a detour into the corporate sector.

“I never thought I’d be applying to a corporate position,” said Pastrano. “My goal was to become an entrepreneur and open my own physical therapy practice.”

Pastrano changed directions and was hired as a claim adjuster with USAA and accepted into their management training program.

“When I interviewed with USAA I was familiar with their interview techniques because of what I learned in the college’s Career Action Program,” he said. “Without the help of this program, I wouldn’t have gotten this job. It helped me find my purpose.”

In addition to their coursework, the students also enjoyed being part of an educational cohort. They participated in activities including an ugly sweater party at the holidays, Top Golf outings, happy hour excursions and lunch and learn workshops.

“There is a real community feel when you are part of a cohort,” said Schafner. “When we leave this program, we will have built a strong network with our classmates.”

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the outcomes we’ve seen in this first class,” said Dan Davied , director of multidisciplinary graduate business programs and a M.S. in Business faculty member. “The students have expanded their business expertise, found success in the job market and have made bonds that will last a lifetime. Now we’re preparing to continue that experience for our next class this summer.”

Wendy Frost—

Please send your comments to:

— Joanna Carver