After eight years as a Marine working in supply chain management, supply administration, ordering, and tracking, Gina Jacoby decided to spend her next stint as a stay-at-home mom to her daughter. Fast-forward, and with her daughter poised to leave the nest for college in a year or two, she found herself single and uncertain of what her future in store.
Jacoby knew she needed to work, but she wasn’t sure how the skills she’d developed over the years could contribute in current job market. She had done some consulting at her daughter’s dance studio which included competitive research and pricing evaluation, which led to offering ideas to streamline inventory and expand the business. Realizing that her skills and interests aligned with a path forward in business, she decided to make the most her military benefits and earn her bachelor’s degree in business administration.
In researching different schools in the area, she was concerned that the four-week courses offered by some universities seemed just too fast, but that the eight-week courses at Alliant were long enough to cover the subjects in-depth, but also allowed her the flexibility she needed as a single mom with a teenage daughter. When she discovered that her courses put her on the fast track to an MBA, she thought was the path for her.
Jacoby started her courses just before the COVID-19 pandemic, so-campus coursework quickly moved online classes. Because of her experience in the Marines and her GI Bill benefits, Jacoby was able to get her courses covered, a housing allowance, and a work-study position at the nearby VA helping other students get the most of their benefits at Alliant.
Jacoby admits it’s not easy returning to school as an adult, but credits the warmth and caring of the faculty made it work for her. “I learned a lot in the program, but more than that, my teachers reminded me of my innate talents and gave me back my confidence,” said Jacoby. “The faculty was warm, wonderful, and rooting for my success, especially my program director, Dr. Saba Ozyurt.” Jacoby felt that marketing simulations and various scenarios helped the students, along with the shared experience of her professors. “My professors were actually working in the field, then coming back and sharing their experiences,” she said. “Seeing how our studies are applied in the real world made our coursework come to life.”
Noting that her fellow students, some of who were already working in business, were another rich source of intelligence and lived experience, as well as the diversity of her cohort. “Meeting the wide variety of international students has been incredibly rewarding,” said Jacoby. “Learning about cultural challenges faced by fellow students, and learning together in small classes that allowed us to share those stories, was really helpful.”
What would Jacoby say to someone thinking of joining the same program? “In this program you’ll be appropriately challenged, you’ll grow, you’ll accomplish the impossible, and you will achieve your goals.” As Jacoby heads toward the finish line in earning her MBA, she’s looking forward to finding a job in management or a higher position and becoming instrumental in improving any organization she joins.