With nearly two decades of real-world banking experience, Patricia Rosa is setting her sights on the C-suite level.
“I knew that in order for me to move toward my professional goal I needed to go back to school, further my education and get that graduate degree,” she said. “It was always a personal goal of mine. Sometimes life gets in the way, and you have to shift your priorities.”
Rosa completed the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in August 2022.
“My daughter, Julianna Godinez, is a graduate of BGSU,” she said. “We were moving her back to Bowling Green in August 2020. Right across Wooster Street, there was a big banner advertising the online MBA program.
“My husband, Jose, said, ‘You should do it.’ I looked into the cost and the courses. I spoke with [online MBA program coordinator] Connie Disbro. When the timing is right, it works.”
Having her daughter available to help her transition into an online program helped Rosa acclimate to her return to higher education.
“I would call her and ask her questions,” she said. “She helped me with familiarizing myself with Canvas. All of the resources were there….She was right there for me.”
A senior vice president at First Women’s Bank in Chicago, Rosa enjoyed the flexibility of the online format. She has worked at the financial institution since it opened in July 2021.
“It was manageable,” she said. “Because of COVID-19, there were not a lot of family things going on. We weren’t traveling. I still went into the office while I was in the program. The asynchronous format works out well. It helps you balance work with your family life.”
It’s a Small World
Rosa is from Chicago, but she is a first-generation American born to Mexican immigrants. She also became the first person in her family to earn a college degree when she graduated with a bachelor’s in finance from the University of Illinois-Chicago in 1993.
“I have been in banking my whole career,” she said. “I started as a teller in college. From there, my interest in it grew.
“After I graduated, I went into the accounting department, did investment portfolio accounting and got promoted. ”
Rosa’s two favorite courses in the online MBA program curriculum were Leading for Organizational Success, taught by Dr. Jane Wheeler, and Marketing Management and Strategy.
“The coursework and the exercises that Dr. Wheeler built into the syllabus helped me understand who I am as a leader and my leadership style,” she said. “Most importantly, it provided tools to help me garner success within my team.
“Dr. Mason is such an excellent educator. He’s probably the best professor that I have ever had. He provided great resources and his lectures were awesome. There were real-world examples of his experience.
“When you are in a master’s degree program, it is important to have the tools to succeed. That’s real life, working to make something prosperous. That only works if everyone shares their tools.”
The knowledge that Rosa gained as a student in the online MBA program was useful in ways she did not expect.
“Everything I learned was applicable,” she said. “You take little bits of everything to help you. The Information Technology for Managers class that I took came in handy. We are a digital bank, so the learnings from that have helped.”
Rosa celebrated her big accomplishment by walking the graduation stage at the commencement ceremony with her family to cheer her on.
“My husband, my daughter, my parents, my brother and sister are all excited for me,” she said. “It was a lot of fun…Everyone in my family was very supportive of me.
“They always worked around me and my schoolwork. They were willing to work around my schedule to help me. My daughter got a bachelor’s degree in applied science from Bowling Green.”
The celebration did not stop there for Rosa and her family. They are going to France this year to do what they enjoy most.
“We love to travel,” she said. “We are a huge Disney family. We are going to Disneyland Paris to celebrate my MBA.”
Now that Rosa has a master’s degree, she is working toward her goal of moving into the upper echelon of banking.
“Having the MBA will help open up opportunities for me in my career,” she said. “It was a great experience. The program and the cost were excellent. It’s very affordable.”
Although Rosa would have liked to return to school sooner, she is happy with how everything turned out at Bowling Green.
“I would tell anybody to just do it,” she said. “Don’t second-guess yourself. It’s manageable.
“You can make it work…In the end, it all works out. I’m glad I did it.”
Learn more about BGSU’s online MBA program.