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Success Well Earned

Success Well Earned

Vivian Cassaberry-Furby earns MBA while juggling family and career

by Steve Valley

Superwoman has nothing on Vivian Cassaberry-Furby. She has balanced motherhood, marriage and being the vice president of Global Investment Management at Bankers Trust, all while completing her MBA program via online studies through Regis University.

If your daily schedule was as hectic as hers, it might be a good idea to copy her strategy. Cassaberry-Furby started each day with a 30 minute fitness routine, and then studied from about 4:00 a.m. until 6:00 a.m., when it was time to get her son ready for school. “My husband and his family helped out a lot. The family network is indispensable,” says Furby, of her support base.

She decided to get an MBA after her employer, Kidder Peabody & Company, merged with Paine Webber and she became a “casualty of corporate war” (was laid off). During her search for another job, she discovered the competition had become very tough.

“Even though I had good experience, there were others looking for the same job, at the same level, for the same amount of money,” Furby said. “Some of the ads I ran across even said, ‘MBA preferred’. I knew that in order for me to remain competitive, I’d need to earn an MBA degree.”

Determining which program to enroll in was difficult. Furby was married and her young son was just entering kindergarten. She knew she needed a program that would be flexible in terms of the amount of time she had to spend in class. She also knew she would eventually find a job and couldn’t allow herself to attend a full-time ground based program. Furby needed the kind of program that took into account her other priorities. Online programs attracted her because of the flexibility they afford students.

She researched many online programs and decided on the Regis program through the University Alliance because it had a bricks and mortar campus and an excellent reputation. The same professors, who teach on campus, facilitate the external MBA program. As a matter of fact, Furby thinks the program is much more rigid because they have less time to fulfill the same curriculum as the campus students do.

The University Alliance is the nation’s leading exclusive e-Learning provider of online Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees and certificate programs from regionally accredited universities and colleges with over 40,000 enrollments. The University Alliance works with nationally recognized colleges and universities – such as Villanova University, Saint Leo University, Regis University and Jacksonville University – to provide students accredited associate’s bachelor’s and master’s degree programs online. The degrees offered (AA, BA, BS, MBA) include business, criminology, information technology, liberal arts and nursing.

The University Alliance gives working professionals the opportunity to continue their careers while pursuing higher education- allowing them to work at their own pace without disrupting their busy schedules and family commitments. Students set their own hours and attend class in the comfort of their home or office, whenever it is convenient for them. The programs are designed so that students can conveniently balance the demands of their jobs and personal commitments with those of a comprehensive on-campus degree program. When students graduate, their degree and knowledge is identical to their on-campus peers.

By using state-of-the-art proprietary technology developed by its partner, Bisk Education, Inc., the University Alliance has over 40,000 enrollments in its online programs. Students can attend class anytime, anywhere, 24/7. No campus attendance is required. The program features online “classrooms” that are designed to give students the “digital tools” they need to enhance their educational experience. Program tools include streaming video lectures that students view as many times as they need; an asynchronous online bulletin board that permits students and faculty to interact on key topics; and chat rooms that are used by instructors to host “virtual” office hours where students can collaborate real-time with faculty members. They can even take exams online without the need of a proctor.

“Our classes would go for 8 weeks versus the 12 weeks a student on campus got to read all the chapters and write all the papers,” Furby said. During the week I usually got up at 4 a.m. and read or viewed my tapes until 6 a.m. At work, while on my lunch hour, I logged on to the Web site and tackled my Internet or bulletin board homework assignments. On the weekends, I would write my papers. ”

She admits it is quite an intense program, but definitely worth it in the end. “I earned every passing grade that I received by putting forth a lot of effort and sacrificing time that could have been spent with my family,” Furby said.

She’s ever mindful of the need to be competitive, that’s why she pursued her MBA from Regis University, which she completed last June. Now she is employed with Instinet Financial Services as the Director of Risk Management. Furby oversees the department that checks on the credit of potential candidates.

“I’m a firm believer that we are who we are because of a culmination of our experiences,” she explains. “It wasn’t easy living in the projects, but my dad never let me settle for less than 100 percent and my mother always encouraged me to ‘keep the faith’ when things weren’t going well.” Those days are well behind her now. She has her MBA and the sky is the limit.

Rebecca White
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