Elyssa Osborn isn’t afraid to take on a challenge. Or two.
While enrolled in the online Master of Business Administration with a General Business Concentration program at Eastern Washington University (EWU), she was a new mom. Osborn then switched career directions three months after completing the program in June 2021.
“I always knew I wanted to go back to school and get a master’s degree,” she said. “I hadn’t pulled the trigger because I didn’t think I could make time for it. As my daughter, Danielle, got older, things got busier. It was kind of a now-or-never situation.”
Osborn went from working as a human resources business partner for a credit union for five-and-a-half years to one for the Selah School District in Selah, Washington.
“When I saw that the MBA program at EWU had a great price and was online, I thought that it might be a good fit,” she said. “I went to EWU my freshman year of college before I transferred, so I ended up going back.”
Osborn especially enjoyed the flexibility the online MBA program provided — especially in terms of setting her own class schedule each semester.
“I am the type of person who likes to get everything done in advance, so I liked that it was an accelerated program,” she said. “I could choose to do one or two classes at a time, so I could spread it out for financial or calendar reasons.
“I was working full time and had a one-year-old at home, so having that flexibility was nice. I knew I could ease up on my class load.”
Osborn graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human resources from Central Washington University in 2016 after she found her true calling.
“The HR person at one of my previous jobs was so kind and compassionate and an all-around good human being,” Osborn said. “She had such a big heart and was there to answer questions. That inspired me to help people from behind the scenes.”
Because Osborn’s final two years at Central Washington University involved hybrid classes, she had some experience with online learning before she enrolled at EWU in September 2020. Osborn especially enjoyed the leadership and management and ethics courses in the online MBA program.
“Those were a bit more advantageous in the real world for what I do in HR,” she said. “The direction of my career isn’t likely to switch from HR to financial analyst, but having information about the big picture of business is great.
“I also liked the marketing course because it was fun to see what goes on behind the scenes with the research and information that goes into it.”
The information that Osborn learned also gave her a confidence boost. EWU’s program proved professionally and personally favorable.
“The program and courses were valuable,” she said. “It was not just the learning. The program made me more confident in my abilities to learn new things.”
Osborn had much encouragement from her husband, Zack, during her time in the online MBA program — especially as a new parent. She is the first person in her immediate family to earn a graduate degree.
After having a positive experience at EWU, Osborn has recommended the master’s degree program to a couple of colleagues and provided some advice.
“The most important thing to know is it’s definitely valuable and worth it,” she said. “The cost is also minimal compared to most MBA programs. You also have to know your time commitments.
“Don’t throw yourself all in. Take it easy in the first course or two and absorb it. The faculty have great information to give you, but you will spend a lot of time each week on it.”
Although Osborn is new to her current role in the school district, she believes the MBA degree will continue to open doors and create career opportunities for the rest of her working days.
“I am broadening my experience across industries to find out where my home is. The MBA was the icing on the cake of my resume going forward. It helped me be competitive with other candidates.”
Learn more about Eastern Washington University’s online MBA program.