Student Spotlight

Advanced degree earns a promotion for MBA alumna

September 06, 2016 by Margo Myers
Brandy Chinn

Brandy Chinn, a human resources consultant for the state of Washington’s Office of Financial Management and Brandman alumna.

Brandy Chinn says she loves her role as a human resources consultant for the state of Washington’s Office of Financial Management. She works for the state human resources office providing rule interpretation for civil service rules. She admits it’s a niche job and she enjoys the challenge of rule interpretation.

“I like innovation and ideas, and the stakeholders are so broad here,” said Chinn. “We work closely with our stakeholders which include state agencies, institutions of higher education and related higher education boards. We have to be able to factor out what impact a new rule or rule change will have.”

Chinn has worked for the state since 2003, holding various human resource positions at four different agencies. The Office of Financial Management is her favorite so far because she likes the variety and enjoys solving problems.

“We help set the tone for forward thinking, and I thrive in that environment and seeing the bigger picture,” said Chinn.

Chinn recently graduated with her Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Brandman University’s Lacey campus, after getting a bachelor’s degree in social science, and before that, her associate degree. “My desire to go back to school was personal,” explains Chinn. “Both my mom and dad graduated from high school, and I’m the first in my family to go on for my college education. I want to be a positive role model for my children.”

Chinn has two children: an 8-year-old son and a newborn daughter. She believes Brandman’s blended program of both online and in-person classes has allowed her to be successful. “I can do all three – work, family and school,” Chinn said. “I didn’t have to choose.”

That ability to juggle a number of projects at the same time is already leading to more responsibility at work. She credits getting her education with her newfound ability to manage multiple projects – something she’s learned how to do by juggling work, school and family.

“Going back to school is already paying off,” said Chinn. “Since I’ve been in the MBA program, I’ve received a promotion.”

As for advice for others considering a return to school – state employee or not – Chinn says you’re never too old. At the age of 36, she thought it might be too late for her to get an advanced degree, but she’s finding out differently. In fact, she says being back in class helps her to better connect with adult learners when developing programs for her job.

Her other piece of advice? Chinn encourages potential students to “go for it,” and let go of the need to know all of the details before getting started.

“You start, and then you’ll make a turn and carve your path instead of the other way around,” she said. “That’s what was holding me back. Just get started, and you’ll figure it out as you go.”

This story is featured in the September issue FTE, the news magazine for Washington state employees.

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