Find out more about the educational path this alum pursued.
Meet Tina Courtney, MBA '13
When Tina Courtney was a child, she dreamed of becoming a doctor. But in her native Burma, girls such as Courtney couldn’t aspire to such prestigious positions.
Courtney was born in Burma (now Myanmar) but because her father was Chinese, she and her siblings were denied full citizenship status and all the rights that came with it. After Courtney earned a business degree from Rangoon Arts and Sciences University, she joined her father’s textile business, Shanghai Comfort Company.
That job ended when the ruling Socialist party nationalized all private industry, including Shanghai Comfort Company. The business Courtney’s father spent a lifetime building was no longer his.
“They took everything from us and my parents had nothing left,” says Courtney. “But we were lucky. The U.S. Embassy sent an invitation to my father, offering asylum in the U.S. He came first. He worked hard and saved money and then brought the entire family to the U.S.”
A year after her father emigrated and continued his work as a master tailor, Courtney, her mother and eight siblings joined him. As soon as they were settled, Courtney’s father had one objective.
“My father encouraged us all to find jobs and continue our education,” says Courtney. “So we worked during the daytime and went to school at night.”
Courtney, in her mid-20s, had to start from scratch. First she took English as a Second Language courses to master the language of her new country. Then she enrolled in community college to earn the credits she needed for a second bachelor’s degree. She did all this while working as a financial analyst by day.
Courtney got married, had two daughters and juggled motherhood with working and getting her bachelor’s of science degree in business with a concentration in finance through University of Phoenix. The online program fit with Courtney's busy work and parenting schedules. Then from there, she earned her master’s of business administration (MBA), also from the University of Phoenix.
Her family, including husband and two daughters, provided the support and encouragement that helped power her through.
As soon as she could add “MBA” to her resume, she became more competitive in the job market. Courtney is now vice president and business data analysis manager of a Los Angeles- based financial company. But the real payoff has been the impact on her extended knowledge of finance, and her self-confidence.
“Having an MBA degree made me a more competitive job seeker which was enormously helpful during the recent economic downturn” says Courtney. “I cannot overstate the advantage of increased self-confidence during a job interview.”
Courtney has spent the last 11 years building a career in the financial services industry. She’s held titles such as vice president of strategic planning and analysis and group finance manager. Her resume touts her success with managing multi-million dollar capital budget portfolios, hiring and training high-performance teams and her Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification, which indicates her skills in improving productivity and reducing waste.
“I approach every organizational assignment as if it were my own business, “says Courtney. “I constantly asked myself, are we being efficient? What is our budget? And where can I improve productivity, quality, and customer service? I have always enjoyed working with numbers, and developing strategic and tactical plans that align with the company’s mission and culture.”
Becoming a mother and achieving her MBA are Courtney’s proudest accomplishments to date, but she still has many goals she is aspiring to.
“I know I have accomplished many of my goals, but I am still searching for new things I want to do,” says Courtney. “I’m not done yet.”
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