Ms. Ileana Felipe Santos, FNU MBA Graduate
Born in Holguín, Cuba, Ms. Ileana Felipe Santos immigrated to the United States as apolitical refugee. After establishing herself in Miami, Florida, Ms. Santos pursued her educational dreams by completing her Master in Business Administration from Florida National University (FNU).Interview:
Were you the first one in your family to obtain a bachelor’s and/or a master’s degree?
My family has a long history in education; they instilled in us the importance of earning a college degree and to achieve the highest level in education possible. Though they all mainly focused on science, engineering, or medicine, I am the first one in my family who’s completed a post graduate program (Master in Business Administration.)
For your bachelor’s degree, what did you major in? Why did you choose this course of study?
It was an easy choice since I am very passionate about science and mathematics; I have a bachelor in science and a major in physics and astronomy. Physicists require analytical skills like problem-solving, mathematical reasoning, computer programming, organizing and interpreting scientific data. These abilities I believe would help further me in life and I chose to earn an MBA for similar reasons.
You earned your MBA from Florida National University (FNU). Why did you choose FNU?
I chose FNU because of the ethnic diversity, the professor’s professionalism, the University’s accreditation, the level and rigor of the classes, and the welcoming vibe the staff had to offer. It was an extremely comfortable learning experience.
How do you feel that that your MBA has complemented your bachelor’s degree?
The decision to pursue an MBA stemmed from a desire to tackle a new challenge, preparation to tackle a new job opportunity and after taking a hard look at my personal goals/achievements, an MBA compliments my other degrees.
Which course did you find most challenging? Which course did you find easy?
Every class was challenging in its own way, and they were built in a way I had never encountered before. In the end, it helped and I feel like I’m thriving with my newly acquired skills and knowledge.
Did you like FNU’s Hybrid approach (which is taking classes online and in the classroom)?
I prefer traditional courses because of the ability to share information with the professor and fellow classmates in real time. The hybrid programs offered a blend of traditional and remote courses which I didn’t know I needed until it was laid out in front of me. The hybrid method helped me complete my MBA in one year and a half.
Is there a specific professor you wish to recognize?
I would love to recognize all of the professors in the MBA program because of their high-level of professionalism, and they were the best at what they do. In addition, I would to recognize Dr. Maria C. Regueiro, FNU President & CEO because she continued the legacy of Dr. José Regueiro of making the University a community and has succeeded beyond belief.
Aside from the academic courses the MBA program at FNU offers, it also offers soft skills such as presentation skills and learning how to use GotoMeeting and other online services. Do you think you will be able to use these in your professional life?
They gave me confidence to research and resource checks all my work to be able to talk passionately about any subject of my choice, receive criticisms and be able to fix my mistakes. There was a lot of communication and I can apply everything I’ve learned using these programs to my professional life.
Were there any personal challenges you had to overcome while working on your MBA?
There were many challenges I had to face while working on my MBA.I had just lost a federal job because of medical reasons and money was tight, I had to take care of my kids and my mother but still achieve my goal at the same time. It was very straining but now we are in a much better position and on our feet again, I owe it all to God and FNU.
How do you think you will be able to apply your MBA to current position?
Actually, as of now I am overseeing a privately-owned business and using all of the skills I learned in my MBA classes. By being able to apply these skills, the business now has federal clients and an influx of clients in general.
If you had to tell your best friend why they must choose Florida National University, what would you tell them?
I would tell them that FNU offers one of the best program styles and everyone knows you there. They care about you and your progress; it’s like a big family that still retains its professionalism. FNU has one of the most positive learning environments I’ve ever seen and if I had the choice I would happily take another course there.