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After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kansas, Hillary Podrebarac, MBA Class of 2020, found herself in an unexpected field: health care.

It began with a job during college as a laboratory assistant. At the time, Podrebarac was a microbiology major. She soon found that lab work wasn’t for her and switched to a political science major. After graduation, she worked for a year while deciding whether or not to go to law school. Her lab experience led to what was supposed to have been a temporary job at Family Medicine Associates in Lawrence. After a year of working at the clinic, Podrebarac reached an unexpected conclusion.

“It was in that year that I realized how much I loved working in health care on the administrative side,” she said.

After seven years, Podrebarac worked her way up to administrative manager. However, she found that she needed more education to be able to move up in her field.

“My undergraduate degree is not associated with the career field I am in,” she said. “I decided to go back to school to earn my master’s so that I could learn more about the health care industry and gain experience.”

After researching universities and master’s programs, she settled on Baker’s MBA in Health Care Administration.

“It was the perfect fit for exactly what I wanted to do,” Podrebarac said.

She enrolled in the program in October 2018, choosing the online option.

“I chose Baker because of the flexibility the online program offers me,” Podrebarac said. “It is difficult to go back to school while you have a full-time job. The online classes have allowed me to schedule my school work around my life, instead of the other way around.”

Although going back to school while maintaining a full-time job is no easy task, Podrebarac said Baker’s program takes into account and accommodates some of the circumstances that working adults face.

“The work load is very manageable for someone who is working full time and trying to further their education,” she said. “You can easily plan around work or other life events so that you stay on top of your school work.”

Less than a year into the program Podrebarac has already seen the impact of her education.

“I have definitely started applying the knowledge I am learning in my courses to my current job,” she said. “I have been able to take what I have witnessed in my position and apply it to what I am learning in class and vice versa. It is great when you start to see things in your professional life that you have encountered already in your academic life.”

Podrebarac is confident Baker’s program will help her advance in her job, and she already has an idea of where her career will head.

“Based on what I currently do and the mentors I have at my job now, I am most likely headed toward a career in hospital management,” she said. “Without a doubt, I know that [Baker’s program] will help further my career. Not only are my courses teaching me about health care and business topics, but also teaching me how to be a better leader.”

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