“I hope that UTPB continues to add fully online accessible degree programs. I’d take them.”  

–Andrea Wang, online MBA graduate   

Completing a Master of Business Administration can present challenges to any student. Andrea Wang, who graduated from The University of Texas Permian Basin’s online MBA program just five months ago, navigated family health crises and a global pandemic while simultaneously managing her career and earning her degree. Wang was kind enough to explain how she achieved this in a conversation that also covered why she sought an MBA while working in a field not traditionally associated with a business degree, what she considered the “shining points” of our program, and other topics.  

“The MBA Is the Degree of Value in Healthcare” 

A pharmacy project manager for a healthcare organization in California, Wang explained her professional motivations for earning an MBA: “It gives me the credentials to advance and move around the organization. Although I have my BS and Pharm.D., the MBA is the degree of value in healthcare. In [my] organization, you could be an MD, a pharmacist. You can have all these Ds behind your name. Even though it’s a nonprofit healthcare organization, you know, it still needs to drive positive health outcomes as well as positive financial outcomes. So, [for] the people who are able to move from position to position vertically and laterally, all the job descriptions say MBA. If you don’t have an MBA then you have to kind of prove why you can go up or down even though you might be a doctor.” 

A Completely Online, Cost-Efficient Program  

Already a two-time graduate of The University of Texas System, Wang had both personal and practical reasons for choosing UTPB’s online MBA program: “I grew up in Texas and all my degrees are from Texas. There shouldn’t be a reason I should go elsewhere for my MBA.” Her West Coast location and the ongoing pandemic made remote learning the most logical choice. “The program was completely online, it was very cost-efficient, and during COVID both those things were, you know, shining points. Plus, my employer does tuition reimbursement. So, my whole UTPB experience probably came out to about $3,000 out of pocket.” 

Navigating Major Life Obstacles to Achieve Her Goal   

The road to graduation was anything but smooth for Wang, who faced many challenges along the way but persevered through them all to complete her degree. “My mother [back in Texas] became ill. My father had a cardiac condition that we weren’t aware of and was at the point of needing dialysis like within the next week.” Eventually, Wang brought her parents to live with her in California. “I was caring for both my mother and my father in our house while working full time and earning the degree at the same time. Since [my mother] was up many times at night, once I was awake, I would do my online studies and it was just kind of like an escape.” 

Prepared for the Technology-Driven Classroom 

In her earlier university days, Wang had experience with technology-driven programs: “Back in that time, having multicampus video conferencing was a novelty and a luxury, but it was required in our program because it allowed us to communicate across cities, and so it was groundbreaking in that sense. I had that experience back in 1990, when video technology wasn’t the norm for education.” Though widespread use of the internet was then still a few years away, she was ready for UTPB’s online program and believes she learned as much as she would’ve in any traditional classroom setting. “Because I’m an older person, an older student, you know, I don’t let technology be a reason or an excuse for not getting what I need.” 

Guidance for Other Aspiring MBA Seekers 

Wang related that she had already recommended UTPB’s online MBA program to some of her colleagues. “[They] all have the tuition reimbursement benefit. And although our organization promotes a particular university because they have a partnership … I still found the UTPB program to be even more convenient.” To colleagues or anyone else who might consider our program, Wang shared this advice: “Really engage with the professors and classmates when given the opportunity, whether it be online discussions, optional Teams meetings, or office hours. That is where the real-life learning is.” 

Like Andrea Wang, you can complete your MBA online! Whether you have concerns about cost, your schedule, personal commitments, location, or anything else, with UTPB online, there’s always a way! Get program details, request more information, and apply here.