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Fall Graduate Found Flexibility in the Jenkins Professional Evening MBA

Gadeer Alzabit stands in front of an art sculpture outside.
Gadeer Alzabit is data quality analyst at Cisco and a fall 2020 graduate of the Jenkins Professional Evening MBA at NC State.

The Jenkins Professional Evening MBA at NC State is tailored to working professionals. Fall 2020 graduate Gadeer Alzabit knows from experience. 

Wanting to make herself more marketable to employers, Alzabit started looking for MBA programs in early 2017. She soon found that NC State’s distance education option would meet all of her needs. The program hosts evening classes at Research Triangle Park, just down the road from her job as a data quality analyst at Cisco, allowing her to continue working full time while supporting her family. 

NC State also offered the ability to waive the GMAT and GRE, meaning she could apply immediately and dive into the program. While she was also drawn to the school’s stellar reputation and affordability, the program’s flexibility sealed her decision. 

“Even though I would be registering for the evening program, I was not limited to only the evening courses. This came in handy many times while I was enrolled, and I was able to have a mix of evening and online classes. This made it easier to manage my work/school balance,” she says.

As an extrovert, Alzabit loved attending class in person prior to COVID-19, where she could meet and network with professors and other professionals in the Triangle. 

“I learned to work with others from different backgrounds. This was especially true for my practicum course, Product Design and Development, where the class did not only consist of MBA students.” 

Setting realistic expectations was critical to Alzabit’s success in the program. She stuck to six or seven credit hours per semester, not wanting to overwhelm herself. By managing her time carefully, she built schoolwork into her schedule without sacrificing time for family and friends. She recommends that other students also reserve time for mental breaks. 

These tactics allowed Alzabit to thrive in multiple areas of her life, not just school. During the program, she advanced from a contractor at Cisco to a full-time staff member. 

“I have also been able to apply material learned within the program into my day-to-day activities at work,” she says. “One of the main things I value from my time during the Jenkin’s MBA program is having been able to be a part of the 2019-2020 McLauchlan Leadership Series. I was humbled to meet so many amazing people and learn skills that I will be able to carry with me in all aspects of my life.” 

Alzabit says each faculty member she encountered in the program helped her learn with unique teaching approaches and materials. However, three truly stood out. 

“The first is my advisor, Deborah Wilkins. She spent time helping me figure out which path I wanted to pursue, aided me when I dealt with issues regarding classes and was always willing to help connect me with people when I had doubts or questions. Second, Leigh Shamblin for her amazingly big heart and kindness. She has always been friendly, approachable and patient with everyone I saw her interact with. Third is Roger Mayor. I valued the way he teaches his classes. Rather than telling you information, he has a way of making you come to the conclusion on your own. My favorite class with him is The Art of Negotiation…classes like this can be applied in any part of our lives, not just in a business setting.” 

Now that she’s graduating, Alzabit is looking forward to relaxing and goofing off with a small group of friends and family who have supported her throughout the program. This includes her father, who is also in the Jenkins MBA Program as a full-time student. He will graduate in 2021. 

“It is a bittersweet ending to finally be graduating. While I am extremely excited to be done with exams and homework, I will miss being in an academic setting and surrounded by extraordinary people and opportunities. I am also grateful that during my time at NC State, not only will I graduate with an MBA, but I will have a Graduate Certificate in Marketing and my certificate of leadership through the McLauchlan Fellowship.”

Alzabit’s advice to others thinking about continuing their education? Take your time. 

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes to get your degree. We all have other things in our lives that we have to juggle. This is an investment in yourself and worth pursuing.”

Congratulations to all of our NC State Online and Poole College of Management graduates!

Are you interested in advancing your career with a master’s degree in business administration from NC State Online? Visit the program page and for a full list of degree and certificate programs.

This post was originally published in DELTA News.