Student Spotlight

Alumni Q and A: Maria Torre says earning a degree filled in the missing puzzle piece on her resume

Maria Torre’s love for accounting began in high school. The self-proclaimed “nerd” thought an accounting class would be easier than calculus. Knowledge of the practical side of keeping track of numbers grew when she joined the Taco Bell restaurant management program while attending community college. That experience taught her all facets of restaurant management, from sweeping floors to washing dishes and, ultimately, accounting.

Maria Torre Brandman alumna
Maria Torre at her 2012 graduation

From there, Torre’s career spans many industries including restaurant management, mortgage lending, aviation, higher education and health care. During the economic downturn of 2009, she realized that not having a degree was a barrier to new opportunities. Torre went back to Chapman University, where she had studied for a year, and the school referred her to Brandman University. In 2012, Torre earned her Bachelors of Business Administration in Finance.

Now, Torre is an accounting manager for Madison Creek Partners, which manages skilled nursing facilities. She is a proud board member of the Brandman University Alumni Association.

How did going back to school help you/your career?

It was the missing piece of the puzzle on my resume. I had all this work experience but completing my degree put a period on that sentence.

Who inspired you while attending Brandman?

Inspiration for me was the ability to show my family that I could finish what I started.

What advice would you give someone going back to school as an adult?

Do it. It’s worth it, but don’t take it lightly. Be prepared to work hard and to make a time commitment –of 10-20 hours per week. Once you get your degree, no one can ever take that away from you.

Did anything surprise you about Brandman University?

The amount of reading surprised me.  Takes time, but you have to do it.  In our instant gratification society, we forget that we have to read and retain what we are learning. No one is going to read the textbook for you.

What would you have done differently?

I don’t like to think about regrets because I am who I am because of my experiences.

I would have focused more attention on my school work and gotten better grades. 

What motivated you while going back to school?

I would check off my classes as I went along through my program. Seeing the boxes checked off the list motivated me to the finish. Seeing the reward of completion is the motivation. The visualization of the reward was so motivating.

I am really proud that I am a Brandman alumni. I choose to serve in the best way I can as an Alumni Association board members. I have worked for for-profit education in the past and I know the difference. It is a personal experience. I am a huge supporter of the entire Chapman system because the system worked for me! I truly enjoyed my time at Brandman. I am even thinking about pursuing my master's degree.


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