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Powering Through JSOM as a Working Student Part II

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In order to get a full JSOM perspective of the working-student life experience, I decided to interview my friend and UTD alumna, Kelly Corsi, who worked full-time student during her undergraduate and graduate years. Kelly graduated with her Master of Science in Marketing in the Spring of 2017. (Congratulations, Kelly!)

What did you major in?

I majored in Marketing and Business Administration in my undergrad years, and in Marketing in my grad years with a concentration in Customer Insights Focus and data analytics.

Where did you work?

Undergrad Career:

Marketing Director at Chick-Fil-A for the Dallas/ Fort Worth market — I worked there for three years in my undergrad career.

Marketing Coordinator Intern for Innovative — I worked there eight months.

Marketing Associate at Saltie, a startup app, in the travel space — I worked for them five months to help launch this app.

Graduate Career:

Continued at Saltie, a startup app, in the travel space, and I worked for them for five months to help launch this app.

Southwest Airlines, full-time intern as the Marketing Co-Brand and Products Innovation Intern

On average, how many credit hours/classes did you take per semester?

Undergrad:

15 hours/five classes

Grad:

9 to 12 hours/three to four classes

How many hours did you work per week?

40+ hours a week. I took classes at night and online, and then studied and completed my homework and projects on the weekends.

What was your GPA?

I maintained a 3.5 average in both my undergrad and graduate programs.

What did your weekly schedule look like? Daily routine?

Weekdays:

5:30 a.m. - Wake up

6:30 – 7a.m. - Plan my day and write out my goals for each day

8 a.m. – 5 p.m. - Work

6 – 10 p.m. - Class at night

Weekends:

Saturday: Study, work on homework and projects with my teams.

Sunday: Sundays were for spending time with my wonderful family.

How was it different once you transitioned to grad school? (Did you have change any study habits, or were you pretty much used to it?)

It was honestly the same amount of workload. That is why I encourage my friends and classmates to power through graduate school if it makes sense of their career path and learn more skills and tools. It will give them that edge over everyone else — especially because senior-level marketing roles in the Dallas area are hard to find and very competitive to get.

However, it was more challenging meeting and working on group projects in my graduate program rather than my undergrad due to everyone’s busy work schedules. I gave up most of my weekends to study and work on school projects, but it was definitely worth it looking back now.

What study strategies did you utilize in order to keep up with your classes?

Engage in my classes, take detailed notes and study on the weekends. Also, it was to my advantage to work and go to school because if I was unsure on topics in my classes, I would talk to my employees at work and gain insights on them. It was a neat balance of work and school, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

How did you remain focused at work during test days/finals week?

Prepare, prepare, prepare. After every class at night, I would read through my notes, and then sometimes during my lunch breaks, I would revisit my notes/topics from school and keep my mind refreshed with the content so that by the time the finals came up, I felt well-prepared.

Was your company flexible and understanding about you being a working student?

Yes, during finals, sometimes I would leave work at 4:30 if I had an exam that evening and had no meetings.

Which was more stressful to you, school or work?

School.

How did you handle stress? (How did you make time for breaks? Once a month/week?) What advice would you give to students who feel overwhelmed? 

I try to handle stress with grace. In order to not be so stressed out, I plan and prepare my workweek and school schedule weeks and even months in advance so I can be on top of my game and make sure I do not miss any deadlines. Being organized and well-prepared has helped me not get as stressed. I also have a lot of energy and enjoy my job/career path so I am willing to go the extra mile to prepare so that I can avoid getting stressed.

What extracurricular activities were you involved in during your undergraduate and graduate years?

American Marketing Association - President

Career Management Center Leadership Council

Flag Football Club - Founder of this club on campus

Volunteer at Jonathan’s Place and many organizations in the Dallas area.

I am a big believer in giving back my time to help the community.

How did you make the most of your college experience without having as much time to join multiple organizations?

Networking with my classmates. One of the main reasons I pursued my master’s was the opportunity to network with working professionals.

What mindset did you have that kept you motivated?

It is an advantage to work and go to school at the same time. Even if it is an internship or working with a team on a project outside of school. As marketers, we need to continuously be learning, putting ourselves outside our comfort zone, and most importantly — networking. We all have great ideas, and it is so much fun to learn from others. The key to my success today in two words: personal branding.

Advice to students who are planning to/starting to work full time while going to school?

I would plan out each semester before you even start. Define your goals and the track you want to pursue. This can always change after your first semester, but it is important to create a game plan from the start.

Also, make sure you apply for scholarships; a lot of scholarships go to waste because students do not utilize this resource.

Also, meet with your professors and make it personal. Tell them your goals and ask them for advice. They will help guide you, and they also have connections to help you bridge the gap from student to young working professional.

Aside from the academic value, what invaluable lessons did you take away from your college experience overall and as a working student?

Enjoy the journey because you won’t be a student forever. Being a student is a great thing. I know while being a student, you want to be done. However, you are surrounded by current topics, discussions, passionate people and knowledge. When you are out of school, you have to make sure you allocate time in your everyday life to stay up on current trends and topics.

What are some classes you'd recommend for MS in Marketing students?

Adobe Analytics

Consulting

Any project management class — This was probably my most challenging course because it is a project management course for business and engineering students — therefore, a lot of engineering concepts. However, it will set you up for success if you want to manage your own team or one day become a Chief Marketing Officer.

CRM – Customer Relationship Management — I wish I took this course, however, you will be taught if your company uses a specific tool.

The big question that most students want to know: Was it worth it in the end? Did you feel that all of your hard work paid off?

Yes! Definitely worth it! Especially, after receiving my master’s. I have found myself very well-educated and able to manage my projects at work from the preparation and practice as a student and full-time worker. It’s also neat when team members come you to because they want to hear your perspective, thoughts and ideas. Make sure to always share your ideas because they will help the company! 

MaJennine Maninang

MaJennine Maninang graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration in December of 2015 with Magna Cum Laude honors. She is now pursuing her MS Marketing and MS Innovation & Entrepreneurship degrees at the Naveen Jindal School of Management while working as a Marketing Coordinator at a brokerage firm. In her spare time, you can find her reading at Barnes & Noble or studying at a chic café. Read more articles

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