Opening Doors to Opportunity

Opening Doors to Opportunity

11-Month MBA Student Makes History as Part of Program’s First Cohort

By Brance D. Arnold

When Vanessa Favela ’22 began her studies at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, she initially thought business administration would be her path. Then Favela decided to pivot and switched her major to biology, though she admits she did not know much about the sciences.

“I didn’t know a lot about science or health care degrees, but I wanted to learn and have a new challenge, so I switched my major and moved business administration to my minor,” said Favela, a native of Fort Worth.

During her last undergraduate semester, she learned of A&M-San Antonio’s new 11-Month Master of Business (MBA) program and was inspired to return full circle to business in pursuit of a graduate degree. Favela wanted to be more well-rounded in her education and the program appeared to be a perfect fit.

“I came across a flyer posted on a broad in the Sci Tech building,” recalled Favela. “I was excited to see they were offering pizza and decided to sit in and listen. I was immediately interested. So, I applied and got in, and when I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I transitioned right into the program the next semester.”

She said the shift from undergraduate to graduate programs was made seamless due the resources offered and the hands-on assistance from the dean, associate deans and professors.

Favela credits her undergraduate experience in the sciences as preparing her for her graduate-level education. “Biology is very demanding. It prepared me for the master’s program and eventually a doctorate if I decide to go that route, because of how rigorous the learning is, the research and the teamwork, and the content in general. Now it’s more about the applications as opposed to just learning the content.”

Favela said having diverse educational experience provides the ability to pursue more versatile career or academic opportunities. “I never wanted to not be able to do something because I was not well-rounded enough. I have a science background. I have a business background. And I can follow the path I chose,” she shared.

A part of the first cohort, Favela is among approximately 35 students within the 11-Month MBA program. She said she feels camaraderie with her classmates. “We have teams within the cohort throughout the whole 11 months,” Favela explained. “Getting to meet these fellow students and having these connections with them even after we graduate, that means a lot. You really get to know your classmates as it is very personable, and you network with them.”

11-Month MBA Student Vanessa Favela Working at a Desk
11-Month MBA Student Vanessa Favela works as graduate assistant for the College of Business.

Favela also serves as a graduate assistant for the College of Business, helping prospective students who inquire about the program and to recruit the next cohort. As a grad assistant, Favela said she is offered flexibility when working to study and finish assignments to help balance her job with academics.  

As part of the 11-Month MBA, students participate in a trip abroad to learn firsthand about how businesses operate in other countries, to meet leaders of prominent companies and to experience their cultures. Favela will be traveling to Dubai and Greece in May, while other classmates will head to Morocco and Spain.   

“I have a science background. I have a business background. And I can follow the path I chose.”

– Vanessa Favela

For students who may consider a degree in business as out of the realm of possibility based on their prior discipline of study, Favela said the experience opens pathways to new opportunities and A&M-San Antonio provides the support and resources to be successful.   

“From being in the program and seeing all the other students in the cohort, they’re not all business or sciences majors. For someone who may be a bit scared of making the transition, we have prep courses at the beginning in economics and accounting principles. The professors, the dean and other leadership are hands-on in making sure you understand the content and are on the same plane as everyone else. We all have the same start,” added Favela.

“In the end, your education is something that can never be taken away from you,” she continued. “If you’re coming from a science background, you will be well-rounded, and if you don’t have an established career, you are able to still make one wherever you want and if you change your mind, it’s okay because you already have the experience.”

With the College of Business earning the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International accreditation, which only 6% of the world’s schools offering business degree programs hold, the future is bright for the 11-Month MBA program and the business school.

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