Student Spotlight

Alumni Q and A: For Donna Sayed, earning an MBA opened a path to meeting a longtime goal

Donna Sayed

MBA grad Donna Sayed

Donna Sayed planned on teaching English after college but ended up in the most unlikely of career fields, medical devices. She worked as a project coordinator, but after a few years Sayed started to grow restless and yearned for a pathway back to her first love, education. Fortunately, her company offered a tuition reimbursement program. She attended an information session at Brandman University’s Irvine campus and quickly enrolled. Sayed honed her business skills through the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program graduating in 2014. Now she combines her passion for English and business at California State University, Long Beach and Fullerton College as a business lecturer. 

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

I would say hang in there! It can be really hard juggling working full-time and going to school but it will be over before you know it.  I would also tell them to try and enjoy the ride. It was really cool experience. 

It can open doors. I serendipitously met a guy who worked at the community college I wanted to work at. He mentioned that they were looking to hire and asked for my resume. This was my first opportunity to teach and led me to an opportunity, not much later, to teach a business communications course. They liked that I had experience in both business, teaching and that I had academic background in English. 

Who inspired you while attending Brandman? 

I was lucky that many of my colleagues at Medtronic were also in my MBA program. We were an informal cohort of sorts. I felt really supported going through the whole program together and I received a lot of support from my academic advisor, Rebecca Warner, who helped keep me on track to graduate.  

 Many instructors at Brandman were inspirational and instrumental in helping me build my business education as well as helping me grow as an individual and professional. Classes taught by Dr. Helen Eckmann, Dr. Gregory Clark, and Instructor Elise Boggs helped to shift the way I thought about myself and the world around me and lead to projects that have lasting impact to this day. 

What would you have done differently? 

I would have tried to get more involved in things like professional development opportunities or clubs on campus. 

What motivated you to go back to school? 

I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go. I felt limited in my options at work and I’ve always wanted to continue my education. I was an English major in undergrad so going after an MBA surprised me but I am glad I went that route. The MBA program gave me the business acumen I was missing.  

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

It opened doors to allow me to purse teaching.  I really enjoy teaching business because it is relevant and teaches students things that will impact their lives.  I definitely want to continue teaching, grow as  teacher and professional and continue to make a contribution to the lives of others. I would love to return to where it all started and teach at Brandman someday.  

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