Posted on May 4, 2023 by Wendy Frost

Not even appendicitis could stop Destiny Agrela , ’21 from reaching her goal of obtaining her Master of Science in Business at the Carlos Alvarez College of Business at UTSA this month.

Emergency surgery forced Agrela, a San Antonio native, to miss a week of class near the end of the semester while she recovered, but her classmates had her back and told her to put down the laptop while she was in the hospital so she could focus on her recovery.

“It is like a mini family,” said Agrela, who received her undergraduate degree in education-interdisciplinary studies at UTSA. “We bonded our first semester as we battled our way through our statistics class. We always said that if we got through statistics, we could do anything together. Our classes were in the morning, then we’d stay on campus to work on homework and group projects. We even would hang out together outside of class.”

The M.S. in Business is a full-time, 11-month cohort program designed for students from a non-business background. Students take courses in areas such as economics, financial accounting, management, negotiation and quantitative methods so they are fully prepared to succeed in the business world.

“This program is great. I’ve enjoyed the diversity of the classes and the variety of educational backgrounds of my classmates,” said Agrela who noted that the professors would relate concepts to the students utilizing examples from many disciplines.

She loved the continuity of Albert Huang ’s classes every semester; Patrick Lee’s accounting course; and the real world scenarios Bruce Stanfill would discuss during management class.

In addition to coursework, she worked with Sara Gothelf , program manager in the college’s Student Success Center, on perfecting her resume and professional development training. “She was there with us along this journey during both our highs and lows.”

Working at H-E-B as a cashier since she was 17, Agrela was looking for a career beyond a traditional Monday through Friday desk job. After shadowing an H-E-B manager, she applied for their store operations management internship program and received an offer in less than 24 hours. She will begin the program two days after graduation.

“H-E-B really takes care of their partners,” said Agrela, who was chosen from her store to receive a Women of Distinction Award from H-E-B during Women’s History Month. “I’ll be starting my first big girl job, and I’m excited to see where it goes. I couldn’t ask for a better company to work for.”

Once she completes her internship, Agrela plans on applying to their retail management program and envisions a future where she’ll be a regional manager.

“When I graduated at 21 with my bachelor’s degree, I realized I couldn’t see myself as a teacher,” said Agrela. “I loved the versatility of this program. It helped me pivot my career focus, but also taught me how I could apply my education training to the business world.”

Agrela initially chose education because she wanted her career to have an impact on others. But she soon found that through her work at H-E-B her actions and infectious personality could also impact her customers.

“My mom has been telling me ‘This is your year mija’,” said Agrela, who was recently chosen as a dancer for the San Antonio Gunslingers arena football team. “It finally feels like my cards are lining up, and I can envision my future.”

While she is excited about what lies ahead, Agrela does admit that it will be weird graduating and not seeing her classmates every day.

“This program sets people up to succeed. It opens up so many doors and teaches you a variety of skills to add to your tool belt. But, I know that we are all ready for what is yet to come.”

Wendy Frost

— Wendy Frost