When Cindy Giles graduated from the Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Information Systems online program at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in December 2018, the whole family was watching.
"My dad has a Ph.D., so he was very excited," she said. "In fact, his next question was 'Now that you have a master's degree, when are you going to start your doctoral degree?'"
Giles values her MBA experience not only for the impact it will have on her career but also for the example it allowed her to set for her children.
"Education is a big priority in our house," said Giles. "I wanted my children [Samuel (13) and Sofia (7)] to know that in life, even though there are obstacles, if you really want something, and you work hard for it, it is achievable."
Spoken like a true role model.
There were plenty of hardships to drift Giles from her path. Facing a divorce, moving states, and raising a family were no minor challenges, but she pushed through and stuck with the idea of earning a master's degree.
"It was never easy. There were times that I thought 'Why am I doing this? Is this really worth it?'" she said, answering her own question with an enthusiastic "Yes! Indeed, it is."
Scrubs to Suits
Giles, who is practice manager for an orthopedic and general surgery clinic in Oklahoma, knows the healthcare industry has changed plenty since she first began her career as a licensed practical nurse in her hometown of Houston, Texas.
The former nurse knew she would need to transition careers when it was time to start a family.
"After working as a nurse for several years, and with a baby on the way, I knew I did not want to be standing on my feet for a 12-hour shift much longer. I decided at that point that I would concentrate on the healthcare business side," said Giles. "And back to school I went."
Expecting her first child in 2006 drove Giles to pause her work at the bedside so she could enroll in college and earn a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership from Union University, knowing she would pursue her master's degree when the time was right.
When her children were older, she enrolled in the graduate program that would enable her career transition, with the full support of her new husband, Merwin.
Program of Choice
Giles, a working professional with a family, appreciated all the perks the MBA program offered.
"SOSU's online format gave me the flexibility of studying at night when everybody was asleep and completing homework on the weekends.
She knew she had made the best choice, financially, even before she entered the program.
"Affordability was the defining factor. SOSU's cost is unbeatable."
The knowledge and skills Giles developed in the online MBA classes transferred directly to her job as practice manager. FIN 5213: Financial Management was especially helpful and an eye-opening experience.
"It was like real light bulbs would go off. I thought, 'Now I know how to compute this. Now I know where they get those numbers. Now I better understand profit and loss statements.' I think that finance class helped me understand a lot more of that side of my job."
Giles plans to make more of an impact at her current organization now that she has completed the master's program.
"With my new degree, if I want to further my career, I have many opportunities within my parent company, possibly transferring to new positions maybe even in a different city or state."
She hopes to move up the ladder and apply her new knowledge and expertise in an administrative position.
For now, she is glad to be spending more time with family, and her children are just as delighted.
"My 7-year-old daughter hollered, 'Yay, we get our life back!' when I told her I finished. They are very happy Mom is done with school," she said.
Completing the program gave Giles the added bonus of more time for rest and relaxation.
"I love to cross-stitch. I do have some projects in the closet that I had to put up when I started school. I think it's time to get them out again," she said.
Giles recommends SOSU's program to anyone who is looking to pursue an MBA.
"For every part of the process, from admission to graduation, there was not one person who did not go out of their way to make sure that I understood everything," said Giles. "I'm impressed with how the faculty and staff went above and beyond to make sure I succeeded."
Have a question or concern about this article? Please contact us.