Ana Cristina Fernandez

Ana Cristina Fernandez

Name: Ana Cristina Fernandez
Age: 30
Major: Master’s in Business Administration
College: Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship
Hometown: Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.
High School: CIDEB (Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo de Educación Bilingüe), Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. 

I choose to earn my MBA at UTRGV because it is a school that provides me the opportunity to earn an affordable graduate degree in the U.S. while I am close to my family. UTRGV also provides me with unique opportunities such as fellowships and assistantships that help me to enhance my professional skills and broaden my experience as a business student.

What made you decide on your current major?
In my early 20's, I noticed that I had a passion for entrepreneurship and business models. Visiting the U.S. several times in the past inspired me to pursue an MBA after earning some working experience in Mexico. I knew that acquiring my MBA in the U.S. would help develop my business skills on a global level.

How are you maneuvering being a student during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Since the pandemic started, I’ve been staying at home, finishing my assignments for grad school, and working from home as well. It has been hard to manage myself being a part-time intern and a graduate student because as soon as I am done with my work shift, I need to do classwork. It can get very tedious to work 10 to 15 hours a day on a computer between meetings and assignments. However, I give myself breaks in between, wake up early and get ready to feel motivated and achieve my goals for the day. I also do some virtual coffee sessions every once in a while with my coworkers or friends to keep me motivated during the week. 

What are your greatest strengths and what are some challenges? 
My greatest strength is that I can find purpose in my tasks to deliver good quality work and stay motivated every day. Also, I consider myself someone who sees good in everyone and everything, which helps me carry good relationships with my coworkers, classmates, supervisors, and professors. On the other hand, I am facing some communication challenges as everything switched to a remote basis for clarification. I still find it hard to ask for help in some of my tasks.

What do you hope to achieve beyond completion of your major?
I hope that the experiences that UTRGV is providing me through graduate assistantships and fellowships will give me the opportunity to keep developing my business skills and broaden my professional experience.

What do you like most about UTRGV?
I love UTRGV because of the kindness and support from all the people I've come to meet within the MBA program and through the different departments from the university I have met. I've never felt so supported by an academic institution as I do at UTRGV. Whenever I face any challenge, there is always someone there to help me out: my classmates in my classes and homework, my professors to understand my academic challenges and support me to learn and get the best of them, and my program coordinators and the dean of the School of Business who always believed in me and supported me so I can achieve my goals.

What does being a Vaquero mean to you?
Being a Vaquero means understanding the potential we have individually and as a community, never forgetting where we come from and where we can dream to be.

What opportunities has UTRGV helped you find throughout your community?
UTRGV has given me for sure the best professional opportunities I've had so far in my life.  First, I got to be a graduate assistant at the Graduate College for almost two years. This assistantship helped me find a great job opportunity because I had the best coworkers and the most inspiring and empowering lady boss. Then, I got the chance to lead the Master of Business Administration Student Association (MBAA) as the Association president for almost two years. UTRGV provided me with the opportunity to be an Archer Fellow during Summer 2020, which gave me the fantastic possibility of being an intern at a company in Washington, D.C, during the summer. As a result, I got the opportunity to work as a Business Development Associate in The Kaizen Company. This international development firm implements education, health, and local governance projects in Ethiopia, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and other 40 regions worldwide.

What advice do you have for fellow students pursuing degrees during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I've realized that the pandemic is a great time to continue your studies since everything has shifted online. This change gives you so much time advantage. I would advise fellow students to organize the rest of their daily activities to make the most of it.