In recent years, the average age of students enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program at UW-Whitewater has slowly drifted downward. While the pandemic influenced this trend in 2020, it began before COVID-19 took hold of the world.
Nayeli Govantes Alcantar ’21, who graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Business Administration in both Accounting and Business Analytics, is just one student who transitioned directly from an undergraduate degree to a graduate program. Nayeli had an outstanding career at UW-Whitewater. She was named to the Dean’s List for seven semesters, which she accomplished while working on campus as a SUFAC Intern and Resident Assistant, along with active service in the UW-Whitewater Dream Scholar and Colleagues, UW-Whitewater Voto Latino, Beta Alpha Psi, The Excelerators, and the International Student Association.
After such a rich and successful undergraduate experience, it is no surprise that Nayeli has approached life after graduation in much the same way. Since spring commencement, she moved from Janesville to Milwaukee, began an internship at PwC, has been preparing for the CPA exam, is working as a Graduate Assistant at UW-Whitewater, and enrolled in the MBA in Data Analytics at UW-Whitewater. Despite all this, she plans to complete her MBA in 2022.
Nayeli shared her rationale for transitioning directly to a master’s program.
“Having earned a double major, I had the credits needed for the CPA exam. However, when I was in my sophomore year, I attended a professional conference where they encouraged MBA degrees for private accounting if you were to hold a managerial role. I remembered the advice that well-rounded business students are desired in accounting. I also felt it would open up more professional opportunities down the road.”
After completing two graduate classes in the summer and with plans to complete five courses this fall, she has some early impressions of the transition and program.
“As a UW-Whitewater undergraduate, my entry into the online master’s program was very smooth. I didn’t need to worry about providing a GMAT score or even transcripts. I was already comfortable using Canvas, the digital learning environment, as well as WebEx for live sessions. I’ve found that the online program sustains interaction with discussions and group work, and learning from my peers in the program has been rewarding.”
She is looking forward to applying what she learns in the MBA program to her career.
“I plan to stay in public accounting. I really enjoy it and hope to use my Data Analytics emphasis to simplify day-to-day tasks. I’m scheduled to begin a full-time position at PwC next fall, and my goal is to complete my MBA and CPA in 2022.”
Linda Yu, interim associate dean of graduate programs and professor of finance and business law, expressed how the variety in age, industry and experience brings depth to the MBA program.
“Students in our business master’s programs range from their early twenties to their fifties and above. Recent undergraduates are digital natives who add a vital viewpoint to classroom engagements, while professionals established in their careers bring extensive real-world experience and strong leadership perspectives.”
Nayeli commented on another trend she has noted, which she hopes continues.
“I love seeing other Latinas in my graduate classes because, in the past, a low percentage of Latinas would go on to pursue a master’s degree. It’s rewarding to see that representation increasing and being part of it.”