As a college volleyball player, Allison Briley knew the importance of having strong court vision. She’s applying the same principle to her future.
“No matter what path I end up on, I am going to focus on the globalization of industry,” she said. “The global marketplace impacts everything. Understanding how global influences impact companies and individuals is going to be helpful in the long term.”
Briley has a career gameplan, and she completed the online Master of Business Administration with an International Business concentration program at Eastern Washington University (EWU) in October 2021.
“I always wanted to get a master’s degree,” she said. “The business environment is extremely competitive with finding jobs, and a lot of people have business undergrad degrees.
“I thought it would be helpful to get something that would distinguish me, or at least help to do so in the job-hiring environment. It was a good fit.”
Briley is a private client banker for JP Morgan Chase in Vancouver, Washington. She chose EWU based on the flexibility of start dates and the affordability of tuition.
“I had been looking around at programs for a bit, and the start dates were pretty rigid and not working well with my schedule,” she said. “This MBA program is also cost-effective.
“I had read reviews on other programs from students…I read nothing but good reviews about Eastern Washington University.”
The accelerated program helped Briley graduate in 12 months without sacrificing any time in her current role. She especially appreciated the regular due dates for assignments and overall routine structure of the program.
“The online format is so much easier when you’re working full time and only have evenings and weekends to work on school,” she said. “It made it flexible — especially with this program.
“It’s not like they switch[ed] it up on us every week, so we [knew] what to expect. That makes it much easier to manage with a full-time schedule.”
Briley grew up in Pittsburgh, but she played volleyball at Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2017.
After relocating to the west coast, Briley started at JP Morgan Chase a few months after completing her undergraduate degree. She hopes to become a project manager one day.
“A project manager is going to need to know how to apply what I have learned — especially in courses like Essentials of Operations Management and Leadership and Ethics,” she said. “I can see how the intricacies of operations management are going to apply that career.”
The MBA Capstone course was Briley’s final and favorite in the curriculum.
“It collects almost everything we have done throughout the MBA program,” she said. “It also created a group environment in which we worked on a complex simulation. We got to use all of the skills and information we learned throughout the program and apply them to the group setting, which will be more realistic in the workforce.”
Briley believes that having more than four years of real-world experience before enrolling at EWU was beneficial.
“I deal with high-net-worth clients and businesses, so I have learned about the financial markets and securities markets,” she said. “To go back and learn more about them in school is a good way to translate the knowledge into what I see every day.”
Game, Set, Match
Like with her teammates on the volleyball court, Briley received plenty of encouragement during her time in the online MBA in International Business program.
“My family is excited for me,” she said. “I would be home on vacations and holidays and had to do homework. They were nothing but supportive and helpful. My friends were also encouraging and kind to me. I had a great support system.”
Briley also liked that the information she learned in the program is benefitting her currently and will continue to pay off in the future. As a bonus, Briley sharpened her time-management and organizational skills as an online student in the program.
“In one way or another, everything I have learned will apply to general knowledge in helping me with my job,” she said. “I can’t think of any class where I’ve learned something that I don’t apply in my work life.
“You have to prepare to invest the time,” she said. “It’s an accelerated program, which attracted me to it. I took two classes at a time, so the workload could get demanding. You have to make time each week.”
With an MBA under her belt, Briley is eager to work toward the next phase of her career. She believes the degree will help her achieve her goals.
“Right now, I am in the customer-facing realm, which I love,” she said. “I’d like to go more into logistical planning and project management. The MBA will be super helpful for that goal.
“I found the MBA program to be immensely valuable. I learned a great deal throughout the program. The professors were all fantastic and responsive. I had a great experience.”
Learn more about EWU’s online MBA in International Business program.