Ruth Hoskins has a flair for business analytics that helped her build a solid career in the United States Government, but she knew there was still something missing from her development.
So, she turned to her alma mater, Florida International University, and its online Corporate Master of Business Administration (CMBA) program to fill that void. Hoskins graduated with an MBA in May 2017, about 18 years after she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration on campus.
“I was supposed to get an MBA a long time ago, and I finally decided I might as well get it done,” she said. “I remembered how rigorous FIU was for my undergrad, so it was really the best choice for me.”
However, the 42-credit-hour online MBA program was not exactly what Hoskins envisioned when she enrolled.
“For some reason, I thought this was going to be a piece of cake because it was online,” she said. “Once you get over the shock that you must take it as seriously as you did your bachelor’s, it was okay.”
Even though it was a significant amount of hard work she had to balance with a full-time job at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), Hoskins enjoyed the enhancement of her business acumen even more than she expected.
“My friends and family were shocked because I would say, ‘If I ever go back to school, I want to do something that’s fun,'” she said. “I don’t want to do something to excel in my career; I just want to do something that I love doing. I realized going back to school that I actually love figuring out hard problems … I just do. So, that was exciting.”
Hoskins parlayed her knack for business analytics into a job as an assistant chief operating officer with Miami-based Sherry Manufacturing shortly after she graduated from FIU with a bachelor’s degree in 1999. She also forecasted sales and ran the purchasing department during her nearly three-year tenure at the company.
“As the operating officer, you have to have a pulse on how the business links into every single area, figuring out issues and problems and making things work,” she said. “One of the things I loved about that is being able to upgrade the system, forecast and determine the visions' next steps. My boss said to me at the time, ‘I don’t know how you’re so good at this.’ I said, ‘I can look at it and kind of tell what’s going to happen.'”
She then moved to the Washington, D.C., area to work for the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General for nine years. Hoskins moved on to the Amtrak Office of the Inspector General in 2012 before she landed at Freddie Mac.
“I excelled at being a jack of all trades,” Hoskins said. “You would come to me, and I would solve business problems — that’s what I did. One of the senior executives decided I was so good at it that I needed to go to finance and become a master at it since I could figure out what was going on with the data and make it talk. He told me I better go back and get my MBA because it should have been mandatory, and I should have already had it.”
In addition to the knowledge she gained in the online MBA program, Hoskins also got a huge boost of self-assurance posing as the president of the simulated computer company in MAR 6816: Corporate Simulation.
“You know how you get to a point where you’re not sure what you can achieve? I think sometimes I was a little afraid to do something,” she said. “I know I'm good at it, but sometimes you don’t really want to tell people you’re good at something.”
Hoskins led a group of her fellow online students and was able to lead them to be number 1 by a landslide.
“I would do the financials based on best-case, worst-case and probably where we’ll end up, and I basically forecasted what would happen,” she said. “We always did better than what we forecasted, so I would lead the team and guide them to where I thought we should be.
“I could tell what the other groups were going to do, the decisions they were going to make and what they weren’t seeing. Doing that, I realized I could do this. It gave me a lot of confidence. It definitely shows you what you learned in the program.”
Hoskins has worked for Freddie Mac for almost two years. She said she would eventually like to teach business analytics when she gets a little older.
“I really enjoy how you can link all of the business together and understand how a decision you make in one department affects a decision you make somewhere else,” she said.
The online CMBA curriculum also provided Hoskins with some new perspectives.
“The way they design the program, just about all of the courses are applicable to your area,” she said. “If you’re in management, they are things you should have known, but they help you look at things differently. It also shows you what you thought you knew but you didn’t know, what you forgot or were supposed to know. It gave you a sense of, ‘Wow, let me continue learning.'”
Hoskins has 12 siblings, including two who have also earned master’s degrees, and parents who were missionaries. She graduated from high school in Hialeah, Florida. Now that she’s done with the master’s degree program, she’ll have more time to enjoy her two hobbies, painting and cooking.
She couldn’t be happier she made the leap to return to FIU for a master’s degree.
“It is going to require your entire life,” Hoskins said. “I did not think that. I just thought, ‘Oh, wow. Let’s get this done.’ It does take a lot of time but, in the end, I believe it’s worth it if you actually apply yourself to get something out of it instead of just trying to get a degree, to actually learn what the course is about.”
Sounds like a pretty good formula recipe for success.
Lean more about the FIU online Corporate MBA program.
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