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Part of Western Governors University

February 8, 2021

Northeast Spotlight

Recognizing resiliency.

Brooklyn student earns a Resiliency Grant on her way to an MBA.

Serena Wu Serena Wu

Serena Wu lives in Brooklyn, New York. Enrolled in the WGU College of Business, she is earning a Master of Business Administration, Information Technology Management.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA? 

I am an IT project management professional with more than 15 years of experience in financial industries working for companies like Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Prudential Financial. I always intended to complete my MBA at some point, and lockdown from the pandemic made me rethink what I can do with my time and energy. 

Since I already have a bachelor's degree in finance and marketing, I chose the MBA degree for the area that is relevant to my experience in IT project management. I hope to leverage this degree to eventually move into nonprofit work, while staying close to the rapidly evolving technology community.

You’ve been awarded a Resiliency Grant by WGU: tell us a little about your story.  

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had just finished a consulting assignment that lasted five and a half years. I was actively searching for my next assignment, while continuously training myself with job relevant courses, and at the same time I was helping my children adapt to remote learning and trying to find ways to motivate them on how to manage obstacles in challenging times. 

I believe in leading by example, and I wanted to teach my children that one never stops learning and nothing comes easy. You must work hard at it. I found something positive out of the pandemic by refocusing my energy on what I can do to make myself more prepared for the future that lies ahead.  

Was it difficult to decide to go back to school? 

It was a difficult decision because of constant struggles to balance priorities between work and family obligations. As a full-time working professional with family and children, I needed an online program that caters to professionals with job experiences, allows flexible time to complete the degree, and is financially manageable

Why did you choose WGU?  

After reviewing the programs and costs from six different online MBA programs, I decided that the WGU model is the most effective and efficient way for me to reach my goal. Once I made the decision, I went through the enrollment process quickly and got started right away. So far, I have completed four courses in a matter of three months, leveraging my own experience and knowledge in some of the course topics and dedicating an average of 25-30 hours per week to my study. I enjoyed every course I have taken, and the program delivery method works well for people who are disciplined and persistent in pursuing the degree. The competency-based model is innovative and yet practical for experienced professionals looking for additional education credentials to support either a career change or purely self-improvement from a higher learning experience.

What did earning the Resiliency Grant mean to you?

I feel honored to receive this recognition and the term "resiliency" is a true reflection of the spirit behind this award. It demonstrates the institution's belief and support in people's ability to persevere during times of challenge, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Resiliency is a motivation and a personal perspective a person should have when he/she is dealt life's many unexpected twists and turns. My attempts to transform a negative situation that I cannot control into something positive for my future is what the Resiliency Grant means to me.  

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