Kathy Chinchilla, MBA (2021)
Kathy Chinchilla, MBA (2021)
What is your background?
I am from Palmdale, CA which is approximately 1 hour north of Los Angeles, CA. There I earned an Associates of Science degree in Business Administration from Antelope Valley College in 2011. I then transferred to the University of California, Santa Barbara where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and a direct commission to the United States Army as an Ordnance Officer through UCSB’s ROTC program in 2014.
I served in the United States Army between November 2014 and May 2018. During which I held roles of Maintenance Platoon Leader, Distribution Platoon Leader, and Maintenance Control Officer out of Fort Hood, Texas with the 1st Cavalry Division. Upon leaving the Army I began my role as Operations Manager for Target operating out of their Pueblo, CO Distribution Center. I also decided to continue my military service in the Army Reserves, where I currently serve as a Supply Officer for the 104th Training Division in Aurora, CO.
What were the factors that led you to pursuing the UCCS MBA/MSA?
I was looking for a graduate degree that would help add value to my ambitions as a supply chain management professional. Yet, I sought out an education that was broad enough for me to gain other knowledge that would add value as a business professional. I did not want to skip out on the management, accounting, information systems, and marketing courses that would help me analyze supply chain management processes from a creative perspective.
When searching through university programs and courses, UCCS was at the top of my list because of the Operations Management emphasis in the MBA program. Most universities offered either M.S. in Supply Chain Management degrees or, in my opinion, very generic MBA degrees. After looking through the curriculum, I realized UCCS offered exactly what I was looking for to complement where I wanted to take my career transitioning out of the Army.
How would you describe your experience as a student in the MBA/MSA program?
Amazing! I have never had issues enrolling in courses, my academic advisor is extremely attentive, all my professors have a genuine passion for teaching, and the flexibility of online and on campus courses have truly been a blessing. I thought it would be difficult to accommodate my work schedule around courses since I work night shifts Tuesday to Friday, but I have always been able to take one course online and one course on campus.
Do you have any particular memory of a classroom experience, professor or fellow student that stands out?
I recently finished taking a course, MGMT 6000 – Managing and Leading in Changing Times, with Professor Warrick. At first, I thought this would be a general course, a lot of reading assignments, discussions, etc. but nothing more than a requirement course. It turned out to be the best course I have taken so far, and I literally was on the edge of my seat every course when he would start lecturing.
I was vigorously taking notes, not necessarily just for the midterm or final papers, but also on how to directly apply these concepts at work. At the time half my team, 16/32 team members, were new and it was my responsibility to ensure they received proper training, met productivity goals, and kept retention rates high. My class met Monday nights and Tuesday nights I was back at work, everything was fresh in my mind and I had all these ideas of how to employ these concepts. Whether it be testing a new process with my team, partnering with other departments, or pitching a new management strategy to my boss. It all came together, and my team had the highest retention rates in my distribution center, highest productivity rates in my department, and I recently was appointed executive trainer for my department.
Professor Warrick’s course motivated and drove me to not only want to learn the concepts he was teaching, but more importantly it was something I could directly apply to my current position. I had never in my entire education been able to directly apply school coursework to a professional position. I was extremely humbled and honored to have somebody like Professor Warrick as a professor.
Can you talk about your career to date and any way your education impacted where you are today?
Originally, I wanted to make the Army my career i.e. serve 20+ years into retirement. I loved it, it challenged me, and it motivated me to want to constantly be a better version of myself. However, things changed along the way and I knew I no longer wanted to serve. I enjoyed logistics and operations management, which I did throughout my roles in the Army. However, with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology, I knew it would be a “hard sell” not having a business degree. I knew I wanted a hybrid of some classes online and some on campus because a masters degree was intimidating to me at the time. This surprisingly, narrowed down my search pretty quick. When I came across UCCS, I saw that Colorado Springs was a great opportunity for employment and city to transition leaving the Army. So, in part, UCCS drove me to Target where I absolutely love working!
What would you tell other professionals with a military background if they asked you about pursuing an MBA/MSA at UCCS?
I would say do it, do not think twice about it because whatever your professional endeavors may be, UCCS MBA/MSA programs will help you prepare to achieve them. The Veterans office on campus is extremely resourceful and helpful. The professors are amazing and have a wealth of knowledge and willingness to see you succeed. The curriculum is something practical and applicable to real world scenarios, which is something veterans should seek. Although, the military gives you invaluable skills, the technical knowledge to succeed in the civilian sector is what UCCS offers through its MBA/MSA program. This education combined with those military skills is what will set you apart as a professional.