Graduate Stories: Debbie Sands

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“I took a strategy and leadership course and it changed my outlook on how I approached my work.”

Debbie Sands Online MBA, Class of 2020 Information Governance Sr. Analyst

Debbie Sands Online MBA, Class of 2020 Information Governance Sr. Analyst

For Washington State University Online MBA graduate Debbie Sands, the program enabled her to grow her network and become more competitive in the human resources market, as well as other fields she developed an interest in along the way.

“The company I’m with restructured and my job was on the line,” said Sands. “When you’re looking at a possible layoff you start looking at the quality of applicants out in the world. I knew I had a strong foundation and great education, but an MBA could put me one step above my competition.”

Sands had looked into earning her MBA before, but now she was driven—she had to accomplish it. She started researching and narrowing down the options based on statistics, rankings, and cost. Sands knew she wanted an online degree, but from a school with a physical presence—she felt it added a layer of security and credibility.

Joining the Coug Nation

“Washington State is very well known in Seattle, where I’m from,” said Sands. “I knew there would probably be a WSU Coug on just about every street corner. And for me, that was important. Networking and the support of the faculty were key pieces in my decision. I knew WSU would provide me with the best networking opportunities in this area.”

Sands knew she wanted to pursue a concentration versus a general track, and based on her experience and future career opportunities, she settled on finance.

“I’ve been extremely happy with WSU. I think the professors are high quality,” said Sands. “It’s nice to see that they’re located everywhere as well. I think it gives a good perspective of their different backgrounds and experience. It provides students with more of a well-rounded look at what’s going on out there—from the West Coast to the East Coast.”

New Knowledge. New Outlook.

“I took a strategy and leadership course and it changed my outlook on how I approached my work. It helped me apply principles to certain situations and become more effective in completing my work and working with others. And perhaps it will help others see me in a different light that can help me advance.”

Sands also enjoyed an operations course which piqued her interest and got her thinking about broadening her career path. She noted that her finance, operations, and leadership courses provided in-depth knowledge that she could apply to her professional role.

“I’ve been very focused in a little human resources world,” said Sands. “And there’s more to business than just HR. I think the time you spend in each of these courses provides you with the knowledge of how all the pieces fit into that bigger picture and how you can move a business forward.”

The Online MBA Experience

Sands watched about 95% of her lectures live while on the train home from work each day. But she also enjoyed the ability to go back and watch session recordings—especially recordings from other professors—to get a different perspective and hear different teaching styles.

“My first professor was attentive and responsive,” said Sands. “She blew me away. If you needed anything, she was there. It’s just all about immersing yourself in what the professors have to offer.”

An MBA You Can Feel Confident In

“I think one of the biggest benefits of the program is the seven-week in one course format,” said Sands. “That’s a key highlight. You get so much information in those seven weeks, but it goes by so fast that it makes the program go by very quickly. The setup and design of the program are a big benefit to choosing Washington State University.”

Through the MBA program, Sands felt more confident in her abilities and started meeting with different leaders and groups at her current company. Her goal was to look within the company for new roles and opportunities that would interest her.

“I recently transitioned into the finance department to a new role as an Information Governance Sr. Analyst,” said Sands. “I had also applied for another position in Enterprise Planning and I learned I was also a top candidate for that role. I don’t have any doubts that my pursuit of my MBA has supported this transition and will continue to do so as I pursue future roles.”

Part of the Family

Sands said one of the most important aspects of her Online MBA experience has been becoming part of something greater than herself—the Coug community.

“It means a lot to be part of the Coug family,” said Sands. “You make these relationships that make you want to give back to the community—help others advance their career. I want to share the fact that I’m a Coug because that’s the kind of experience you get at WSU.”