Ethan Pina is on a different kind of mission these days.
After one year in the workforce, the Toledo native was ready to change his career trajectory. So, he enrolled in the online Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Finance program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in July 2020.
“I didn’t like my first job in sales, so I figured I would go back to school to get a higher degree to help myself out,” he said. “Once I graduate, I would like to work as either a financial analyst or in a consulting role.”
Pina left his position as an account executive at Total Quality Logistics to return to higher education. Upon graduation, he will be the first person in his immediate family with a master’s degree.
“Earning an MBA popped up in my head and interested me,” he said. “I was doing some research and found Bowling Green’s program online. I knew that I wanted to do the program at a local university.
“Bowling Green is a good school that is also affordable. I almost went there for undergrad. I thought it was a good idea to go back now — especially with everything going on with the pandemic.”
The online format gives Pina the flexibility to plan out his schedule and work on school when it’s most convenient.
“It helps a lot,” he said. “I get to do things when I want. I have always been the type of person who likes that — even in my undergrad.
“Sometimes early in the morning when I wake up, I will do homework or read. Sometimes I do it late at night. Doing it online leaves my days open to do other things, which is great.”
Pina played basketball at St. John’s Jesuit High School and Academy. He and several of his friends volunteered for their church youth group and took mission trips to Maryland, Illinois and West Virginia to help impoverished families.
“My family hasn’t always had money,” he said. “Dad lost his job during the recession in 2008. I had to figure things out on my own a lot of times. I had to be resourceful with my money. I’ve always been good at math. I chose to do finance in my undergrad and did well in those classes.”
After graduating from Xavier University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2019, Pina was still in school mode when he enrolled in the online MBA with a Concentration in Finance program at BGSU.
“I had a couple of classes that were online during my undergrad, so it wasn’t a difficult transition,” he said. “I have only been out of school for a year, so I have been doing pretty well in the master’s program, so far. Some of the other students in the program have been out of school longer.”
Pina recently completed his first two courses in the curriculum — MBA 6060: Financial Management in a Global Environment and MBA 6070: Business Ethics, Law and Communication.
“It’s just as good as learning in person,” he said. “A lot of the online format I used in undergrad was on the same platforms, so I was already familiar with them.
“I’ve always been good at handling things on my own. If you have any questions, you email the professor. The professors usually get back to you the same day.”
Pina is happy to build on his acumen and give himself the opportunity to find a career he will enjoy more in the long term by earning a master’s degree.
“I definitely think that the MBA will open some doors for me,” he said. “It will make me more versatile and give me more options in the future.”
Although Pina still has a little less than 12 months remaining until graduation day, he looks forward to walking in the commencement ceremony in May 2021.
“I will definitely do that,” he said. “My family and friends are excited about it. My mom and my girlfriend are 100% behind me.”
Pina, who also played rugby and was on the women’s basketball practice team at Xavier, has taken up golf during the coronavirus pandemic.
With the ability to do schoolwork any time, he can hit the links regularly. Golfing carries over to the MBA program, too, with its emphasis on self-motivation and self-reliance.
“It’s important to read the syllabus,” he said. “A lot of times when you have in-person classes, the professor goes over it. You may not listen the whole time and try to hear key points. When you’re online, you’re on your own and have to figure it out.
“You also have to budget your time well, and don’t wait until the last minute to do your work. I already finished most of my assignments for one class today. I was working on it this morning, so I have some free time.”
It sounds like this mission is well on its way to being accomplished.
Learn more about BGSU’s online MBA with a Concentration in Finance program.