Kim Andrew is an islander again.
Andrew, who was born in St Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is enrolled in the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi online Master of Business Administration degree program. She will graduate in Spring 2019.
"I am a voracious learner," she said. "I enjoy learning new things. I have a keen interest in both technology and business strategy, and my role in the information technology industry allows me to combine them both. I believe that an MBA was the instrument of success needed for me to become a deeper and better version of myself, as well as contributing additional value to the workplace. These were my main motivations for getting an MBA."
Andrew lives in Houston and works remotely as a product manager for AXS Ticketing, a leading ticketing, data, and marketing solutions provider in the United States and Europe. She graduated summa cum laude from American Public University with an Information Technology Management degree.
"When I did my undergraduate, I realized how much I enjoyed going back to school and being in school," Andrew said. "I love being in the presence of very intelligent people. Doing an MBA was just the next step in becoming a better version of myself. I also volunteer at the University of Texas Health Science Center as an examination proctor, and I enjoy being in the presence of people who are highly intelligent and highly skilled in their field."
The main reason Andrew chose TAMU-CC was because it is part of the prestigious Texas A&M University system.
"While researching MBA programs, I noticed there are several people in leadership positions in companies here in Texas who are alumni of Texas A&M or a university in the system," she said. "That's one way to measure success and the quality of the school's education."
Andrew had a different career path in mind when she initially enrolled in college after high school.
"I started my career in accounting to follow in my brother's footsteps, but then I loved computers more," she said. "My professors at the time encouraged me to follow my passion for technology and remain loyal to it as my true north."
Andrew worked as a technical product consultant in Oslo, Norway, and England before landing a job as a product manager for Outbox Technology in London. She stuck with product management when she went to work for AXS in 2015.
"I would not have considered this program, nor would I have been able to maintain good academic standing if it wasn't online," she said. "My job at AXS requires me to not only travel locally and regionally but also internationally. So, I need to have that flexibility of still being able to stay on top of my coursework. I'm in multiple different time zones, but it doesn't prevent me from studying or keeping up with assignments and deadlines."
With the online MBA curriculum, Andrew can immediately apply what she learns to her career.
"I recently had a conversation with the chief product officer about funding innovative projects and how we can utilize value innovation by thinking in bets," she said. "I was speaking to him about profitability and expected return of these small bets, giving him insight into how we should evaluate a project, in terms of value, in the future.
"I don't recall ever learning this from my undergrad courses. The knowledge I've learned from this curriculum gave me the competence to confidently converse on these topics with top executives with decades of experience. It's truly been gratifying."
FINA 5311: Financial Management Concepts, taught by Dr. Alexandra Theodossiou was one of Andrew's most difficult courses, but it was also one of her favorites along with MGMT 5350: Entrepreneurship, taught by Dr. Kent Byus.
"The professors at TAMU-CC are knowledgeable in their domain, but also have strong industry experience," Andrew said. "My finance professors have several years of experience teaching the subject and working in the field. They break down the theories so eloquently, using modern day, real-world examples in a way that allows the material resonate with you. They teach with such passion, that even non-business majors like myself learn the material and actually enjoy learning it. Now my conversations with my family include stocks, the impact of federal interest rates on investments and the time-value of money and more. I look at myself and I say to myself that, this was not the Kim of yesterday -- pre-MBA at TAMU-CC!"
In addition to all the travel that Andrew does for AXS, she and her husband, a US Marine veteran are both "social anthropologists." Together, they have been to 38 different countries around the world, primarily to "observe people in their natural environments to experience new cultures and alternative ways of life."
In addition to travel, Andrew also enjoys her family's support.
"My husband was not surprised with my decision to get an MBA since he knows that I am always looking for new ways to develop and challenge myself," she said. "He is enormously supportive. My siblings are also always encouraging me to go further. They each have advanced degrees and have lectured in an educational facility at some point during their careers."
Andrew's family isn't the only group backing her.
"My fellow classmates are fantastic," she said. "The support I get from them is what keeps me going -- one exam and one class at a time. It is a community of great friends who've become family. And what's fascinating is that these people are scattered across various cities in and out of state. I am surrounded by people who care and are cheering me on -- my own cheerleading squad. I love it! It causes me to strive to be an overachiever, and when I'm done, I am going to miss it and everyone here. The unity and culture here are what differentiates Texas A&M-Corpus Christi from every other university."
In her spare time, Andrew enjoys watersports, reading and attending tech conferences and meetups in and around the Houston area. She worked on a project that won the local award at the 2017 NASA Space Apps Challenge. However, she devotes approximately five hours per day for school.
"When I enrolled in the MBA program, I actually underestimated how challenging it would be," she said. I take two classes each term and since I am an overachiever, I spend a tremendous amount of time on my coursework. It is not easy, TAMU-CC is highly recognized for the quality of the education they offer, thus it is no walk in the park.
"When you decide to do an MBA, you must be absolutely certain that this is what you want and that you are ready to commit to it. Don't ask yourself whether it is the right time either, as there will never be a perfect time. Ask yourself whether you are ready to make the necessary sacrifices needed to earn the degree. Because you are going to have to make some very steep tradeoffs. But I guarantee you, and -- you've got to tell yourself this -- the future you is far more powerful and is far more important than the uncertainty you are feeling at this specific moment."
Learn more about the TAMU-CC online MBA program.
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