Talia Donaldson decided to venture beyond her comfort zone and it provided the fuel she needed to boost her career.

“I’ve actually ended up becoming an operations manager in supply chain management because of the degree that I obtained from Florida Institute of Technology,” said Donaldson, a child of the American Midwest who now makes her home in Houston, also known as the Energy Capital of the World.

Her duties with DistributionNOW, a supply chain solutions company and global distributor of products for the energy and industrial sectors, includes negotiating contracts, leading project teams, resolving budgetary issues and creating policies to enhance efficiency.

After she earned an undergraduate degree in sociology in 2007, Donaldson’s professional path zig-zagged from social services to the law before leading her to the oil and gas industry.

“And from there I decided I was going to take my education to another level,” she said.

“My background is really in legal and sociology … but I stepped beyond my boundaries and entered into business school, and it’s been awesome ever since.”

Enrolling in Florida Tech’s 100% online Master of Business Administration in Management program allowed her to continue working full time in order to maintain her household.

“It’s a well-known, well-respected university, so I felt like this was the right way to go,” she said.

“People are highly impressed when I say that I am a graduate of Florida Tech.”

As Donaldson prepared to receive her MBA diploma during commencement ceremonies on the Florida Tech campus in Melbourne, we spoke with her about her career path and the importance of building a support system.

Q. Tell us a little bit about your background.

I was born in Kansas City and currently live in Houston, Texas. I earned my BA from the University of Houston and later went to paralegal school. Since that time, I have worked in a wide range of areas. I was a clinical therapist for children diagnosed with autism, and a paralegal for a wills, trusts and estate planning firm, which later led me into maritime legal work.

My introduction into the oil and gas industry began at Nippon Oil Exploration for the land department. Following the BP oil spill, I landed the opportunity to be part of the procurement group at Wilson Supply, in which we supplied much needed materials across the Gulf Coast.

I took on several roles within the company (which later became part of DistributionNOW) as an inside sales rep, department assistant and business analyst, and I am currently an operations manager for supply chain services.

Q. Why did you decide to advance your education through a degree program offered online?

I love to learn and grow. Getting a next level of education was going to play a vital role in my career advancement. It was just a matter of deciding what I wanted to do. Online worked for me because I never knew when I would have to travel for my job.

Q. What were the most important factors in your decision to choose Florida Tech?

Florida Tech is a respected Tier 1 (Best National University) school. They offered a flexible class schedule in both supply chain and management while I worked full-time.

Q. What was your favorite class and why?

I really enjoyed Marketing Management and Statistics. My undergrad was in sociology, so deep down I like to study how groups of people think and their behavior trends over time. It is a significant detail in business.

Q. What surprised you most about taking an online program?

I was completely and utterly surprised at all of the relationships, the bonds, the interactions with my professors and the magnitude of knowledge I was able to obtain and absorb remotely because I’m very used to a classroom setting. I was able to meet wonderful people from across the nation so it was very beneficial … and I hope to keep in touch with several of my peers going forward.

Q. What was your most valuable takeaway from the program?

No matter how difficult or challenging something is, if you stay the course and keep going, you will be successful.

Q. How will your Florida Tech degree make a difference in your career?

It has allowed me to take what I learned in class into the field. My education, experience, heeding the advice of my mentors and hard work has prepared me for my new position as a supply chain services operations manager.

Q. What advice would you give other students who are considering enrolling in the program?

Go for it if you have a hunger for more in your life. Even if you have a full-time job, the classes are geared for you to still succeed. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. … There is nothing that you cannot accomplish and you will have the support system if you choose to go to Florida Tech.

Q. Who or what inspires you to succeed?

Prayer and connecting with others. I learned to create a support team. Classmates, professors, family, friends, tutors, other MBAs, coworkers with experience helped me make it happen.

Q. What is one fun fact about you?

I have performed in every major theater in the greater Houston area. During my capstone semester, I danced in two full-length shows in Indianapolis.

Are you a graduate of Florida Tech’s 100% online degree programs? We would love to share your success story in our Student Spotlight series. Contact us at StudentSpotlight@universityalliance.com for additional details.

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