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Fall commencement signifies an end and a beginning for many students

Thursday, December 20 2018 11:00am

242 COB students join the OHIO alumni network

By Meghan Morris

OHIO’s 2018 fall commencement marked the end of a journey for approximately 900 graduates across all disciplines. From the College of Business, 144 undergraduate students and 98 graduate students crossed the stage to receive their diplomas. While each achieved a great deal during their time in the college, they are now headed in different directions with one thing in common - they will always be Bobcats.

Colleen Allen could only picture herself attending Ohio University because the college had a stellar reputation and beautiful campus.

Allen graduated with a B.B.A. in marketing at Saturday’s (12/15) ceremony. She finished a semester early because of receiving credit for college courses during high school. However, Allen’s accelerated progress allowed her to achieve more than she could have imagined.

In addition to her bachelor’s degree, she picked up a sales certificate and communication studies minor. Peers could recognized her face from several extracurriculars: Chi Omega, Business Bobcat Ambassadors, Ohio University Consulting Fellows (OUCF), and Schey Sales Centre.

“It’s been really cool to look back at myself as a freshman and think of all the things that I’ve accomplished,” Allen said.

Reflecting on her time at OHIO, Allen still can’t believe that she spoke to more than 200 business professionals and students at a Schey Sales Symposium, and it seems not long ago that her team finished third out of 50 student teams at a case competition in Orlando, Florida.

Even more than her academic accomplishments, she appreciates the connections she built with Bobcats over the years. Allen lived in Pickering Hall during her freshman year, where she formed close bonds with many people on her floor. Nights would be spent having study sessions or “family dinners.” Quite a few of these relationships remain strong to this day.

“It amazes me that I’m still really good friends with all of those people on my floor,” Allen said. “That really speaks to the culture at Ohio University. It’s genuine.”

After graduation, she’ll help out in the Schey until spring break to show her continued support for the COB as an alumna. Then, Colleen will embark on a 35-day trip across Europe before starting at Apex Systems, an IT staffing and workforce solutions firm, in Columbus.

“I’m really excited because I know I’ve done everything to take advantage of the opportunities at OHIO,” Allen said. “The College of Business had prepared me to move forward into the next chapter of life.”

For some graduate students, pursuing another degree comes after years of job experience. They have a desire to learn more and even start an entirely new career.

Cintia Ulloa-Hays, a recent Professional MBA graduate, moved to Athens, Ohio, when she was a child and considers it home. In 2000, she graduated from OHIO with a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology.

Ulloa-Hays continued on a traditional career path until her husband accepted a job in Brazil. So while in the South American country, she enjoyed volunteering at an all-girls orphanage and a maternity hospital.

“I loved the bond I had with people,” she said. “When you’re building widgets, it’s just not very sexy. There’s no deeper connection.”

She wanted to incorporate her volunteer efforts into her career but wasn’t sure how to combine those worlds. A mentor suggested getting an MBA because it could give her more career options than an industry-specific degree.

Ulloa-Hays looked at a few MBA programs but settled on OHIO’s because it had a great reputation. Specifically, the part-time program caught her attention because of the hybrid model where a portion of the learning takes place online and another portion in a classroom. The cohort environment added an extra layer of commitment because the PMBA students need to work together.

“To know that I couldn’t let my team down or to vouch for the work, I felt made face-to-face interaction crucial to the program,” she said. “It really improves the quality of the work that I would produce for my education.”

Ulloa-Hays said that walking across the stage to receive her diploma felt “incredible.”

“I walked for myself, my husband, and my kids,” she said. “My husband supported me through a lot of late nights, taking care of the kids. It’s a good lesson for my kids as well because they watched me give up some fun to get work done.”

Completing an MBA gave Ulloa-Hays more than just a degree. During her first semester in the program, she applied for a position with Mount Carmel Health System. They offered her a valuable position, Regional Director of Women’s Health Service Line, because of her job experience and intention to complete her graduate degree. She accepted the job and wants to make good on Mount Carmel’s investment.

“My goal is to grow at Mount Carmel and really learn as much as I can about women’s health service line,” Ulloa-Hays. “All of the classes that I took definitely set up a great foundation for this job.”

Hugh Sherman, dean of the College of Business, said he’s very proud of the fall graduates and is excited to see what the future holds for these Bobcats.

“We have some of the best alumni in the world,” he said. “They’re accomplished professionals, who contribute to their industries and their communities. Today, we added 242 promising Business Bobcats to that alumni network. We can’t wait to see what they do with their degrees from OHIO.”