Emily Simerly, deputy chief of the UTPD administrative division, graduated with an online Master of Business Administration from UT Martin.
What interested you in the degree? My current position focuses on multiple areas including accounting, managerial operations, and strategic management, which are components of the MBA program.
How does it help you in your work? All of the courses in the MBA programs were applicable in some manner of varying degree.
How did you manage the work-life-school balance? I found balancing all to be a challenge. I was grateful that I found an online MBA program that allowed me the ability to manage my school schedule around work and family. Some courses were more challenging and time-consuming than others. I found myself taking annual leave a few times in order to meet requirements for particular courses, and I was fortunate to have supervisors who allowed and were understanding of the leave taken.
My six-year-old daughter is extremely happy she is getting back her evenings and weekends with mom.
Tips for UT employees interested in pursuing a degree: There is no better time than the present to start. There will never be a perfect time in your life that you are obligation free. The sooner you start a program, the sooner you will finish and apply information learned. I am still amazed that I work at a place that has paid for my advanced degree. Additionally, if you choose to pursue a degree, be intentional about how you spend your time. In order to balance all the demands of work, school, and family, I essentially eliminated extras such as television. I had to prioritize items daily.
Now that school is done, what is the first fun thing on your list? I am already planning smaller activities such as attending theater performances and other events with friends and family that I did not have the time or luxury to attend while pursuing my master’s. Additionally, I plan to reward myself this year by traveling abroad.