MBA Student Katie Seigendall Finds the Right Pace Online

EWU MBA Student Katie Seigendall

A desire to learn more drove Katie Seigendall to enroll in the on-campus MBA program at Eastern Washington University in September 2019. She switched to EWU’s online Master of Business Administration program to be able to add studies to her busy life, and she was glad she did.

“I started out on the campus at Riverpoint, and then I realized going to work from 8:00 to 5:00 and then going to class from 6:00 to 10:00 was a really long day a couple of times a week,” she said. “I talked to my advisor, and she recommended that I move to the online program.”

Seigendall enrolled in the MBA program in hopes of elevating her resume. She also wanted to build on the bachelor’s in business administration that she earned from EWU in June 2019.

“My undergrad program was great, but I wanted to fine-tune my skills a little more and be more attractive to future jobs. I knew that the MBA would help me in the long term,” she said. Wanting to stick with the school where she felt most comfortable made EWU a natural choice for her.

“I was familiar with their processes and education,” she said, having majored in finance and minored in economics for her undergrad. “I thought it would be perfect to continue here.”

The transition to online classes gave Seigendall the breathing room she needed.

“I ended up getting a job while going to school full time, but it’s been manageable for the most part,” said Seigendall, who works as a proposal analyst at Itron, headquartered in Liberty Lake, Washington. “It’s so much easier on my life because I don’t have to log on at a certain time. I can get my work done according to the due dates posted online.”

Going International

Of all the courses Seigendall has taken in the program so far, the ones that stand out focus on real issues in business.

“In Corporate Finance [BADM 530], I was able to learn more about how finance applies to the corporate world,” she said. “I got to experience real-world situations instead of textbook examples. It was all about what is going on in real businesses.”

These issues came to life for Seigendall and her classmates in a group assignment.

“We did a massive three- or four-part project in Excel looking at different scenarios and determined whether or not the company would be better off choosing one scenario over the other,” she said.

Even with her business background, Seigendall learned a great deal in the online MBA program.

“International Financial Management [BADM 532] was really interesting,” she said. “We were working with international investments, all the different currencies and how that applies to real-world situations. I ran into currencies I hadn’t even heard of until I took this class. I was pretty shocked, and I thought it was awesome that I was still learning more.”

Gaining an international perspective was especially useful to Seigendall in her job .

“I do a lot of proposals for big corporations and companies,” she said. “I’m currently on the North America team, so I deal with proposals and quotes from Canada, which means adjusting the exchange rate on our quotes. It was a big help to go through the annualized exchange rates for my international finance class and go to work and apply it.”

In addition, Seigendall has gained other useful skills that have made her a standout team member at work.

“The experience with Excel has been helpful,” she said. “My professors make us familiar with the many features of that software. I’ve also heard different things come up at work that I learned about in class, and I could tell people more about the subject because I had already worked with it before.”

Staying Local

In addition to meeting the demands of a full-time job, Seigendall spends anywhere from 20 to 30 hours a week on her studies. Having the equivalent of a part-time job required her to get organized.

“It’s very difficult at first, but I focused on creating lists and allotting time for myself at the end of the day,” she said. “I’ll take a quick break when I’m done with work to get my head in the right space, and then I pound it out. I know that it doesn’t last forever, so the hard work is worth it.”

Seigendall’s parents, Cindy and Jay, provide plenty of moral support when the going gets tough.

“My family has always been super encouraging. Any time I’ve complained about the workload, they say, ‘Katie, you’re almost there. You’re almost there,'” she said. “I’m very thankful for them.”

An online program can seem isolating for some, but Seigendall feels EWU has designed the online MBA to help students feel more connected to professors and classmates.

“There are so many resources available to help you through when you do run into problems or questions,” she said. “As online students, we collaborate and work through our problems together. We all use an app where we can communicate with one another. You never feel like you’re in it alone.”

Keeping an eye on the prize helps Seigendall deal with the rigor of the program.

“It’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of work, but I would say that the work is so worth it in the end,” she said. “It’s the most rewarding feeling when you can see the finish line.”

Seigendall has no plans to seek employment elsewhere when she completes the program in June 2020. Instead, she wants to use her degree as a ticket upward.

“I want to apply it to my current position, because I know there’s room for growth here,” she said. “After I get some more experience in this position, I would like to grow with it within my organization.”

Learn more about the EWU online MBA program.

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