Work. Homework. Workout.
Those three activities have made up the majority of the last five years for Tino Rizo, who completed the online Master of Business Administration program at Eastern Washington University in September 2021. His concentrations were General Business and Finance.
“The pandemic started shortly after I finished my bachelor’s degree,” he said. “I got a certificate last year, but I was hesitant about starting a master’s degree program because I didn’t know how difficult it would be.
“I thought I’d just go for it and see what happens. Thankfully, it worked out really well. After the first term, I felt good because I got A’s. I felt comfortable with the program after that.”
Rizo works at El Caporal Family Mexican Restaurant, his family’s business for more than 30 years, in his hometown of Cle Elum, Washington.
“I was going to apply to private companies, but I found a good opportunity for recent master’s program graduates in a government agency. I applied, and I am now waiting to hear back,” said Rizo (23). “Some type of job in finance would be my favorite thing.”
The flexibility of the online format helped Rizo earn a degree without sacrificing his job or his time in the gym.
“It was manageable,” he said. “It allowed me to do my homework after work or early in the morning. I also liked the accelerated courses. I did some online courses in the summer during my undergraduate degree program, so I somewhat knew what to expect.”
Hustle and Flow
Rizo began his higher education journey at Central Washington University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2019. He added a certificate in Credential of Readiness from Harvard Business School online last year before enrolling at EWU.
“I looked at a lot of schools for an MBA program,” he said. “I chose Eastern because it is here in Washington. Their MBA program is accelerated. Being able to finish in under a year caught my attention. I enjoyed attending Central Washington, but I wanted to try something new for the master’s degree.”
Although Rizo enjoyed each course in the program curriculum, he liked the three concentration courses — Financial Statement Analysis, International Financial Management and International Investments — the most.
“I liked all of the finance courses I took with Dr. Christina Gehrke,” he said. “It was nice how the professors always got back to me quickly when I had a question.”
The timing of Rizo enrolling in the online MBA in Finance program was fortuitous, and it helped him make the best of a bad situation.
“Since it was during the pandemic, there weren’t a lot of things to do with everything closed,” he said. “So, doing the MBA online was exciting.”
Rizo also believes that the program put essential skills into practice that he will use once he starts his business career.
“Since the MBA in Finance program is online, it gives you a lot of leeway to work on it around your schedule,” he said. “I submitted all of my assignments on time throughout the program, but good time management is important.”
Ready to Roll
Rizo is the first person in his immediate family to earn a college degree, which helped make his tireless effort over the last five years worthwhile. He was also admitted into Beta Gamma Sigma.
“That’s why I was also kind of nervous about the MBA program at the beginning,” he said. “My family and friends were all excited for me and supportive.”
Although Eastern had a virtual commencement ceremony because of COVID-19, Rizo celebrated his huge accomplishment and the possibilities that it creates.
He expects having a master’s degree will give him an immediate advantage in finding his first professional gig.
“I believe that having the MBA will open some opportunities for me to start my career soon,” he said. “I got good value out of it.
“Everything went well, so I am glad that I went through the MBA program. I haven’t had a break in school for five years including summers, but I am glad that I went to Eastern.”
Learn more about EWU’s online MBA in Finance program.