Grace Adegboyega’s parents understandably did not want her to leave home for college after she graduated from high school at just 16 years old.
The plan was for her to stay at home and attend LSU Shreveport for two years and then transfer to another school. Instead, she fell in love with the university and decided to stay.
“I want to start my career in Shreveport, and LSUS is a school that I have really come to love,” she said. “Due to its small environment, it creates a classroom where there is a lot of camaraderie, and the professors can develop close relationships with the students and really mentor us, which I really appreciate.”
However, Adegboyega wasn’t finished when she graduated with a Bachelor of Political Science and Accounting in 2016. She is enrolled as a full-time student in the LSUS online MBA program with a Finance Specialization and is on track to complete her degree program and graduate assistant position in December 2017.
She moved to Shreveport from southeast Texas 11 years ago with her parents, who emigrated from Nigeria over 20 years ago. With her parent's support, it’s no surprise Adegboyega finished high school well ahead of the curve.
“I’m the youngest of three, and my parents have always encouraged us to become educated,” she said. “We were the kids who would study instead of playing sports. In suburbia, you’d have kids who went to violin practice or played baseball. My siblings and I studied instead. When I was younger, I often felt like I was missing out, but as I've gotten older, I have begun to truly cherish any opportunity to learn.”
Near the end of her bachelor’s degree program, Adegboyega decided she wanted to stay at LSUS to pursue a master’s degree.
“I met with one professor [Dr. Rick Parker] who is a lawyer and an accountant,” she said. “I was considering going straight to law school and doing more things in business law. I had actually majored in financial analysis first in my undergrad, but due to the fact that I feel more comfortable with numbers than theory, I changed to accounting. Since I was already at LSUS, it was a very easy pipeline and very convenient to enter the MBA program.”
Adegboyega chose the online MBA program because of its flexibility, which she needed in order to study for the Certified Public Accountant exam. Since the online format was new to Adegboyega, she faced a period of adjustment.
“I’m someone who rushes into things without reading the instructions, so I've had to learn how to study in this new format,” she said. “The online program really tests your learning style. You have to see how the format works and how you can learn within that format.”
While it’s not quite the same thing as being in a live classroom like she was during her four undergraduate years, Adegboyega has still found plenty of assistance in the online program.
“Teachers are really helpful,” she said. “It’s not a completely lonely process. There are some forums where students come to meet for moral support. There are a lot of students who are older and returning to school with families, so they really need that moral support, as well. Even though it is online, it’s definitely very personal.”
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As someone who plans to become an accountant, Adegboyega will benefit from the skills she’s gained in the online MBA program in her future career.
“It forces me to take tasks apart and do things one at a time,” she said. “I tended to procrastinate and just hoped everything would work out. Now, I value the step-by-step process.”
Additionally, she has already learned valuable skills she will use throughout her career.
“The Leadership Communication [MADM 720] course really teaches you how to write different communications to address and solve corporate crises,” Adegboyega explained. “We often had to write correspondence for both domestic and international audiences. Being a first-generation American, I related to the course material on a personal level. I was glad to see that businesses have realized the importance of tailoring a message for different cultures. Doing so not only recognizes but respects the differences that make each culture uniquely rich and beautiful.”
Adegboyega has also benefited from her work as a graduate assistant, which she began in August 2016.
“It definitely helped,” she said. “It was a little weird at first seeing professors outside of the normal academic environment. The MBA program is definitely an academic program for adults. LSUS is really unique because it’s in the heart of Shreveport, so you’ve got younger students and students going back to school. It still has that feeling of any normal university with a bunch of 18- and 19-year-olds trying to figure life out.
“I still see teachers on a pedestal because they’re older and know so much more. Now that I’m in the master’s program, they treat me like an adult. I have professors telling me about their day. Now I appreciate the fact that we can relate with each other on a more personal level.”
Adegboyega said her passion for the order and structure of dealing with numbers drove her decision to pursue a career in accounting.
“The world is so uncertain, but what always made sense to me was numbers,” she said. “Especially in accounting — the numbers always have to balance, always have to add up. I realized talking to people from other majors that numbers really seem to scare some people. They say, ‘I’m just not a math person. I don’t understand this.’ I’ve always found those statements to be odd. We’ve been taught math throughout school. Those principles have never changed, yet so many people find them difficult to understand.”
Adegboyega looks forward to a career where she can help people who struggle with numbers and math.
“Numbers are so important — knowing how to manage your money, create wealth and accomplish your goals,” she said. “It’s so important but so many people don’t know how to do it. Being able to use my love of numbers to inspire and support the dreams of others was just a goal that I felt was not only important but necessary. I really hope to go into a profession that will allow me to do that for other people.”
When it comes to the online master’s degree program, Adegboyega said settling into how the format works is the key to success.
“For many people, the online format is unfamiliar,” she said. “It was unfamiliar for me, as well, and I was afraid of how I would do without the support of other students and easy access to professors that comes with a traditional classroom setting. I knew the only way I could benefit from the online experience if I faced and conquered those mental hurdles.
“Once you do that, the physical assignments are so rewarding. Creating those professional networks and those personal relationships are worth the risk. I would encourage anybody considering going back to school, regardless of the format, to take the leap.”
Of course, several positive influences helped cultivate Adegboyega’s drive for additional higher education.
“My parents have always said, ‘People can take away everything from you, but they can’t take away your mind or your education.’ Those words of wisdom have kept me grateful to learn and eager to keep learning.”
Learn more about the LSUS online MBA with a finance specialization program.
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