Zoe Yee is a student in Alverno’s new Associate to Bachelor’s in Business program. Before she came to Alverno, she had an associate degree and a dream of someday managing a hotel. At the recommendation of a respected instructor, she enrolled in Alverno’s Associate to Bachelor’s in Business program to take her knowledge and experience to the next level.
Originally from Singapore, Zoe spent the early days of her career working in hotels. “I love the hotel atmosphere,” says Zoe. “No two days are the same.” Her work changed when she moved to the United States to start a family, and eventually her focus shifted to raising her two children full-time. “Once my kids got older, I wanted to find the next big thing for myself,” Zoe explains. She revisited her passion for the hotel industry and earned an associate degree in hotel and restaurant management.
“An associate degree is a good thing to have,” Zoe says. “But it quickly became very clear that I wanted more.” After looking at bachelor’s degree programs all over the area, one of Zoe’s instructors nudged her to consider Alverno. Because of its unique teaching style, supportive community and world-class reputation, Zoe’s instructor knew that Alverno would be a great fit for her. Upon checking it out herself, she realized she had found the perfect place to further her education.
“The learning at Alverno doesn’t just come from textbooks, but rather from actively applying concepts,” she says. Instead of just analyzing one report, students analyze a whole case, and have to bring all their knowledge to the table to create the best solution. Zoe loves that style, because as she says, “That’s what a real business operation is like.”
She also appreciates Alverno’s unique grading system, which relies on thorough feedback instead of a single letter to evaluate student work. “I really have to give my best,” Zoe explains. “I find the work is more challenging without traditional grades, because I’m not just doing something to get by and pass the class. I’m learning real, measurable things that will help me be stronger in my future profession.”
The Associate to Bachelor’s program is done in a cohort, which means students start and finish the program with the same group of students. Zoe likes the interpersonal support of the cohort, but also what it means for learning. She absorbs a lot from her classmates who bring knowledge from backgrounds in health care, restaurants, human resources, marketing and banking.
“In this program, we do a lot of group work, and that’s what workplaces are all about,” she says. This helps Zoe build the communication and collaborative skills it takes to be valuable team player, while simultaneously boosting her confidence and leadership skills. As she puts it, “There’s no such thing as a manager if she doesn’t have a good team behind her.”
The program has a hybrid format with class one night a week and additional learning online. First and foremost, this gives Zoe the flexibility to balance school, family and everything else. She also feels that it enhances her learning even more than an all-classroom or an all-online education format. “In class, we have valuable time to work through concepts together and address what we’re struggling with. Then online, we can process at our own pace while still absorbing new knowledge.”
Zoe entered the program with a dream of someday managing a hotel, but she’s since expanded her vision to include designing staff training and focusing on revenue management. These are all things she’s becoming more equipped to tackle as she finishes her bachelor’s degree at Alverno. With the concrete skills she’s developing for successful business management and the empowerment that comes from an Alverno education, Zoe feels ready to take her career by storm.
Check out what Milwaukee business leaders are saying about the value of an Alverno education: http://vimeo.com/89518479