The wait to return to school for a master's degree was long for Rayanne Lynch. However, the results were almost immediate after she enrolled in the La Salle University Master of Business Administration program.
"As an MBA candidate, I'm already seeing a return on my investment," she said. "Within my first year at La Salle, I entered a new career and achieved a higher salary. La Salle has an AACSB-accredited program, and I admire that the school is committed to providing high-quality curriculum, experienced faculty, innovation and student engagement."
Lynch, who graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a marketing concentration from Penn State University in 2006, worked as a preschool teacher before she was hired as a grants associate at Vanguard Charitable. Her ultimate career goal is to own an event planning business.
"People always say your career should be something you love to do, and I love to plan events," Lynch said. "Growing up, I loved to watch my aunt make cakes and take orders for weddings and parties. She was very talented at cooking and designing. In fact, many people in my family are, so my eye for this career stems from a natural skill that is prevalent in my family.
"I was also fascinated with the hospitality ministry and the way they transformed the church for weddings and during the holidays. I was always drawn to decor, menu planning and being creative."
Lynch took full advantage of the available resources in the La Salle MBA program to help herself transition from a career in education to one in business.
"I went to career services for help with my resume and to ask, 'How can I put myself out there?'" she said. "I was nervous being someone that had been out of school for eight years. They told me, 'Here's how you can beef up your resume and present yourself.' They knew that my goal was to get a job. I was actively looking to get into a career at the moment, and opportunities started flowing in for me right away."
She has been impressed with the way the university has continued to help and guide her as an MBA student.
"My decision to go back has been one of the greatest decisions I've made, even though it was also one of the hardest ones I ever made," Lynch said. "And it's because of the support that I've received from the faculty from day one. I've honestly seen my life progress in a way that it probably wouldn't have, had I not made that decision to attend La Salle."
Back in Business
Lynch did not get the job at Vanguard Charitable after an initial interview, but she later attended a career services event at La Salle University where she spoke with the same company representatives who interviewed her.
"They remembered me," she said. "They told me, 'I know you didn't get the position at that time, but we sometimes hire contractors.' About three months later, they called and gave me a position. So right away, I saw my career take off. It's been going strong ever since."
Lynch was promoted to grants specialist in September 2017 after more than two years with the company.
"I wanted to be able to better myself and learn more about what's going on in the world and in business," she said. "The MBA program has allowed me to do that, and I've seen the results in a rather quick manner. It's been very beneficial to my career development. I definitely see myself as a leader in some capacity."
One of Lynch's concerns when she returned to college was being able to balance work and school.
"What I love most about La Salle's MBA program is its flexibility," she said. "To a busy professional, it provides added value. I am able to accommodate a busy work schedule while obtaining a valuable education. It's definitely a challenge doing both simultaneously, and that's why I feel like the program has been a positive part of my life."
Lynch believes the MBA curriculum provides holistic perspective into the business world that has been immediately applicable to her career.
"Classes such as finance and accounting taught me how to budget and correctly interpret financial statements," she said. "In marketing, there were case studies about many different types of corporations around the world that provided valuable business lessons on how different organizations are run. The leadership class has directly improved my personal skills in areas such as managing personal stress, solving problems analytically and creatively, and managing time."
Lynch found an exercise in the leadership course particularly valuable.
"They told us, 'Look at yourselves as a company. So, it's 'You, Incorporated. What do you want out of your degree? What do you expect?'" she said. "This was my very first class, and it was definitely life-changing. We had to basically create a vision statement, a mission statement and goals, and then look at the limitations and see how to overcome them.
"Then, we were encouraged to revisit them and see, 'Where have you grown? What new horizons can you reach now that you've met certain benchmarks?' It was definitely something that was beneficial to me, and I encouraged my colleagues at work to take that opportunity for themselves."
Eye on the Prize
Lynch is on track to graduate from the MBA program in 2019. She looks forward to the day she will complete her journey and walk the graduation stage.
"All of my family and friends want to be there," she said. "They knew for a long time that I wanted to go back to school, so they were very supportive. When I made excuses about the expense of going back, my parents were especially encouraging on why it was an investment I had to make. I am extremely proud of myself. Obtaining a master's degree will be one of my greatest accomplishments."
Lynch is appreciative of all of the moral support she has received.
"Every time I speak to someone about La Salle and what the program has done for me, it's like another milestone that I've hit," she said. "I truly attribute it to my experience here and the people that I've met and the people that were able to encourage me.
"I'm just so happy, even though it took eight years to go back for my MBA, I was able to see what I was hoping for all of this time come through in my life. I am happy with my choice to take this journey with La Salle University."
Learn about the La Salle online MBA program.
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