April Wyman hopes to become a project manager after she graduates with a Master of Business Administration degree from UWF that she is earning online, although one of her major projects won't wait.
"I was going to finish in 2018, but I am having a baby that is due on August 20," she said. "So, I am going to push completing the MBA program back to 2019."
Once Wyman and her husband, Robert, welcome their first child into the world, she will pick up where she left off and graduate from UWF again. Born and raised in Pensacola, Wyman earned a bachelor's degree in political science from UWF in 2013.
"When I first went for my undergrad, I was on track to become an attorney," she said. "I started working at Navy Federal Credit Union when I was 23 years old, and I really took to the business world more so than I did the law. I did the foundation courses so I could start my MBA. I like the business world. It is somewhere that I want to stay."
The decision to switch gears wasn't easy for Wyman, a self-proclaimed political science nerd.
"I was still thinking maybe I would stay in law, even if I'm not an attorney," she said. "I love politics. I was thinking, 'Maybe I'll be a professor and teach political science,' but there's just something about the business world that just gets me. That feeling is always going to be there."
An Argonaut Again
Wyman chose the online format because she had a full-time job, but there was no doubt in her mind where she wanted to enroll.
"I was already familiar with UWF," Wyman said. "I already know the teachers have a good rating and it's a great school. I like to stick with what I'm familiar with. Don't fix it if it's not broken."
Her mother, Christy Johnson, also earned a master's degree in accounting from UWF and is a certified public accountant.
"She was excited I went to UWF, but mostly I think she wanted me to stay at home," Wyman said. "I don't think my parents ever stopped saying, 'When are you going to get your master's degree?' My husband is all for it because he knows it's going to open up a lot of good doors for me."
The asynchronous online format allows Wyman to balance school with work and her pregnancy. She spends an average of between 10 and 15 hours per week on schoolwork.
"It's awesome because the flexibility is amazing," Wyman said. "If I have time, I can come home and work on it after work. If not, assignments aren't typically due until the end of the week, so I can work on it on the weekends."
Wyman also had some experience with online education before starting the MBA program.
"Having the knowledge of e-learning and those skills helped a lot but as far as the courses go, it works the same way with normal courses and making sure you're doing your assignments," she said. "It helps to have at least a little bit of background with the online environment."
Wyman gained valuable experience in different aspects of business while she attended college. She worked as a public relations officer for the Pensacola Teen Board, as a shift supervisor in retail and for a call center. Wyman was hired at Navy Federal Credit Union in March 2012.
"I heard a lot about the opportunities they had at Navy Federal," she said. "I thought, 'Alright, let's give this a shot. Maybe it will be something I stick with or maybe it will be something I do while I'm going to school to have some money on the side.' It has definitely turned into my career."
Wyman has already benefited greatly from the online MBA curriculum as she works toward her goal of becoming a project manager.
"Definitely more of the management kind of skills we have learned have applied to my job," she said. "Some of the analytical skills have, too. In my current position, I don't do as many analytical things because I am a training instructor, so the management and leadership aspect of it and doing the project management has been my focus.
"Outside of training, we get to help with projects and course development. Since I want to become a project manager, the analytical side of it will be a great skill to have. Whatever avenues I take, I want to work up through leadership."
Her favorite course so far is MAN 6511: Operations Management Problems.
"It pushed me to a limit that none of the other courses have," Wyman said. "We did quizzes and discussion posts every week, had two exams, and I wrote almost a 40-page paper, which is the largest paper I have ever written. It really pushed me. It was stressful, don't get me wrong -- especially working full-time -- but I liked the challenge."
With the new arrival on the way, Wyman is eager to become a mother and then an MBA graduate. Although the Wymans don't yet know the sex of their baby, that child will soon experience the joy of Walt Disney World and meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
"My husband and I are Disney annual pass holders," she said. "If we're not going to the dog park with our dog or to the beach -- the typical Pensacola stuff -- we are spending our time either at Disney or visiting his family in Houston. I love Houston."
Wyman doesn't mind delaying the completion of the online MBA program a few months to have the baby -- especially since the program will continue to help her hone a very valuable application for any mother.
"You have to make sure you have time management skills because they are short courses, so some of the work can creep up on you," she said. "Really take advantage of reading the material. If the professor has lectures that they offer with it, make sure that you watch them.
"If you are not good at sitting there reading, it helps you understand and put two and two together with the concept. Time management is the biggest thing."Learn more about the UWF online MBA program.
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