Our Stories

Nancy M. Garcia '08, MBA'10Nancy M. Garcia '08, MBA'10

Garcia (center) meets with her fellow Willamette MBA students.Garcia (center) meets with her fellow Willamette MBA students.

As an undergraduate at Willamette, Nancy M. Garcia was engaged in numerous extracurricular activities.As an undergraduate at Willamette, Nancy M. Garcia was engaged in numerous extracurricular activities.

Related Material

MBA student balances classes and service with her first job

A job offer was the last thing Nancy M. Garcia '08, MBA'10 expected when she walked out of her informational interview with the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

Following what she had learned during the Willamette MBA program, Garcia scheduled the meeting to find out more about the chamber and better tailor her résumé and cover letter to an open position.

Instead, the president, Gale Castillo, used the meeting as Garcia's job interview and offered her the position.

"I thought she was calling back to interview me, but she said, ‘You're hired,'" Garcia says. "I never would have done the informational interview if Beth Ursin or Shelby Gould in Career Services hadn't taught me about it."

Helping Latino Businesses

This spring, Garcia commuted to Portland several days a week to work as a business development coordinator for the Hispanic Chamber, while simultaneously finishing her MBA from the Atkinson Graduate School of Management.

Garcia says the position is a perfect start for her ultimate career goal: directing a non-profit that helps Latino youths seek higher education, similar to the Willamette Academy program, where she worked as an academic mentor during her undergraduate years.

"In my new job, I work on increasing the economic advancement of Hispanic-owned businesses," she says. "I support them in making their ideas a reality by helping them with a financial plan, a marketing plan or any other technical assistance they need. I'm using my MBA skills to help the Latino community, which is exactly what I wanted to do with this degree."

Active in the Community

Garcia majored in Spanish and Latin American studies as an undergraduate at Willamette, and she engaged in numerous activities outside the classroom - working in the Office of Multicultural Affairs; co-founding Alianza, an organization that promotes Latino culture; serving as a residential assistant; and dancing in the annual Hawaii Club luau, among many other activities.

She decided an MBA would provide the business and leadership expertise she needed for effective community involvement.

"I knew that getting my MBA degree would give me the flexibility to understand and work in different sectors, like not-for-profit, government or for-profit," she says. "I chose the Willamette MBA because it is recognized for its programs in marketing and the not-for-profit sector."

During the summer after her first year at Atkinson, Garcia interned at Habitat for Humanity of the Mid-Willamette Valley in Salem. She helped the organization develop marketing materials and successfully applied for grants - while discovering the intricacies of running a non-profit.

She also stayed active in graduate school organizations. She is president of the Atkinson chapters of the National Association of Women MBAs and the American Marketing Association; vice president of the Society for Human Resource Management; and social chair for the Atkinson Student Association.

Starting a Career

Garcia says that both of her Willamette degrees mesh well with the duties of her new position.

"With my liberal arts background, I know more about various subjects than if I had gone to a state school where I would have been so focused on my major. Because I majored in Latin American studies, I learned about many different cultures, and I can actually tie that to my job working with diverse Latino businesses in Portland.

"I'm thankful to the people in the MBA program who helped me acquire this job. They follow Willamette's motto, ‘Not unto ourselves alone are we born,' and I hope to continue living that motto as I give back to my community."