Sarah Roberts had a plan. She was going to knock out a couple of years at Southeastern Oklahoma State University before moving on to Oklahoma State University to finish her bachelor’s degree.
“Then, I fell in love with the university and got involved,” Roberts said. “I was vice president of my sorority, Sigma Sigma Sigma. I was president of Cardinal Key [National Honor Society]. I’m chief justice of the Student Government Association. I’m just very involved, so I decided to stay here.”
Additionally, Roberts started as a student worker in the business department on her way to earning an undergraduate degree with a double major in management and marketing. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she jumped at the chance to stick around and earn a Master of Business Administration in with an emphasis in Management with her tuition covered by working as a graduate assistant.
“Of course, I wasn’t going to turn that down,” Roberts said. “And now everybody is getting [undergraduate] degrees, so I wanted to do something to set myself apart and differentiate me from my peers.”
Roberts graduated with an MBA in December of 2016. In addition to working as a graduate assistant and making recruiting calls part time for an insurance company, she has maintained a full-time job as marketing coordinator for First United Bank in Durant.
“I’m very outgoing and very bubbly,” she said. “I’m a people person, and I feel like that’s the way you have to be in marketing.”
Her ‘Other’ Family
Roberts got plenty of love and support from her family, which encouraged her every step of the way.
“They were super excited,” she said. “I have an aunt who’s a marketing teacher at Duncan [Okla.] High School. She’s someone I definitely talked to about getting my MBA. My parents and grandparents also played a major role.
“They were like, ‘If it’s paid for, it’s going to differentiate you, and it’s part of your goals and your plans that are going to make you successful, then go for it.’ They’re always supportive in anything I do. It’s always nice to have support from your family.”
As she worked her way through school, Roberts realized she had another family to help her along the way — the SOSU faculty.
“I was their student worker for a couple of years before I started graduate school, so I have really gotten to know the professors on a first-hand basis,” she said. “Every day they come in the office. I’m very, very close to a lot of them and have become friends with them. It’s definitely been a blessing because not only are they my professors, they’re my mentors and my family.”
Roberts said she formed the strongest bond with Elizabeth Brittingham, a coworker in her office.
“She is amazing,” Roberts said. “She makes sure to answer any questions I have about the graduate program, anything I need … she goes out of her way to make sure she gets it done. She’s one of the biggest blessings.”
Roberts said those relationships have been instrumental in helping her earn her degrees.
“It’s something that most students don’t have,” Roberts said. “Sometimes it’s who you know. They have pushed me. If I’m down, they can tell. When I’m not myself or when something’s wrong, they will email me or call me and let me know, ‘You need to work hard,’ or ‘You need to work on this.’ Just having them and knowing I have built those connections moving forward, I know they’re always going to be there if I need anything. I know if I need a job, they’ll be there to help me.”
Roberts had to take her MBA in Management courses online because that was the only format in which they were offered. However, online worked out perfectly with her enormously busy schedule.
“I could balance work and have my free time,” Roberts said. “It’s just easier because you don’t have to worry about going to class.”
Online learning was also right in her wheelhouse as a marketer.
“I’ve seen different aspects about management,” Roberts said. “I just took Behavioral Management [MNGT 5223] with Dr. [C.W.] Von Bergen. He’s tremendously hard. He’ll push you to your wit’s end — he’ll drive you crazy. But he also teaches you a lot.
“I feel like with the discussion boards we do in there, a lot of them are life situations, so it’s easier for me to apply to my work, what I do in marketing. I learned a lot because I’m reading other people’s posts and seeing what they’ve done in their life situations so I can maybe change what I’m doing and apply that.”
Roberts also thoroughly enjoyed Financial Management [FIN 5213] with Dr. Ying-Chou Lin.
“It was a challenging class, but I felt like I learned a lot,” she said. “My professor was very helpful with everything and went out of his way to always make sure if I had any questions he would help me. Finance is not my strong suit, so I stressed out a lot but also learned a lot in that class. That’s what it’s all about: learning. That course challenged me to push myself.”
Moving On After Graduation
Roberts said her plan is to move to Dallas, where her twin brother, Chance, lives by the end of 2017.
“I want to get my doctorate,” Roberts said. “Probably in the next two years, I’ll start working toward that. I guess I want to be a full-time student. No, I’m just kidding. I’ve worked since I was 14 years old, so I just want to keep working and keep striving to reach my full potential.
“I feel like if I get my doctorate, that’s just something else to make me successful. I’m from that small town where a lot of people go to college, but they also move back home after a year and work there. I don’t want to be that person. I want to be a person who makes a name for myself.”
She definitely believes all of the hard work she’s done has been well worth the effort and would be for anybody considering an online MBA program.
“I’d say go for it,” Roberts said. “Don’t think you’re not capable of doing it, no matter what your major is. If you just work hard, you can achieve anything. I just don’t want anybody to hold back because they don’t think they’re capable of making it through it. I worked as a graduate assistant, I worked at the bank, and I even did a side job. I did three jobs while I was going to school getting my MBA.”
Learn more about the SOSU online MBA with an emphasis in Management program.
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