Graduate School Q&A: Allie Bianchi believes her MBA sets her apart from others

Allie Bianchi

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am from Allen, Texas, which is a relatively large town about four hours from Arkadelphia. I committed to Henderson to play golf and was eventually given an additional year of eligibility because of our inability to complete the 2019-20 season due to COVID-19. I used my first three years to complete my BBA in Finance in May 2022, and I just recently finished my MBA with a concentration in Data Science this past May. I am currently pursuing my dreams of becoming a professional golfer.

How important do you believe a graduate degree is for a successful and satisfying career?

I believe a graduate degree is becoming the new “gold standard” for employment. It can often be the thing that sets you apart from other equally qualified candidates. I did not initially plan on obtaining a graduate degree, but I was more than excited when presented the opportunity granted by my eligibility. While I am not currently looking for traditional employment, I believe having the refined experience in my field and soft skills attained over the last two years will help me with sponsorship opportunities or any additional future business interactions.

How did you manage your work-life balance as a graduate student?

My work-life balance as a graduate student has been a bit different than other students because I am also a graduate assistant in the College of Business and a student-athlete. Typically, I maintain a very detailed schedule of events, but juggling my roles and responsibilities to my professors, coaches, and faculty can often be very demanding. It has been really important for me to be able to prioritize obligations and stay disciplined with my time. It is also equally important to make time for myself to relax and escape the rush of tasks as it can become overwhelming without them.

What inspired you to seek your graduate degree?

I have attended Henderson since I was a freshman in college. After being granted an additional year of eligibility by the NCAA for golf, I decided to finish my undergraduate degree early and begin my MBA. This allowed me to complete both degrees in a total of five years.

What has been your favorite class (related to your major) so far, and why?

My favorite class I have taken was my graduate level data visualization class. It was one of the first times I really got to interact with large data sets and draw insights for business analysis. I really enjoyed creating graphics to better communicate these trends and ideas for real business use and application.

How has your perspective on your field changed since starting your graduate studies?

My perspective on the financial and data science fields has changed drastically since I began both degrees. I have come to understand the vast number of opportunities and paths for growth in both fields. I am excited to see how my educational experience will help further my career in the golf industry and my own personal advancement.

What advice would you give to future graduate students to make the most of their experience at Henderson?

The only thing I didn’t understand completely before starting my degree was the freedom to make assignments my own by raising questions and ideas using critical thinking and evidence to support my arguments. I found this to be the most important skill I learned and the most enjoyable part of the process.

What are your career aspirations or plans after completing your graduate studies?

I am now pursuing professional golf on the ANNIKA Women’s All Pro Tour. While many things about my current path are uncertain, I am excited to begin a new journey. I believe my time at Henderson has prepared me to face new challenges and be successful in anything I decide to do.

Please share something about yourself that might surprise most people.

Generally, people are surprised (and sometimes disappointed) to find out that I don’t really watch much TV. I have not seen most shows or movies that most people would find classic. Although, I did just recently finish Friends which is the second show I have actually ever watched all the way through!

If you could have lunch with any historical figure, who would it be? And why?

I would have lunch with Tiger Woods. I believe he would have some really insightful experience and advice. I would like to understand some of the challenges he faced, his mental resilience, and how he believes internal and external factors affected his high level of success.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My biggest inspirations are also my two biggest supporters: my parents, Robert and Janet Bianchi. They help me understand what it means to build a successful career and enjoy life to its fullest humbly.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your pursuit of an MBA?

Graduate school allows students more opportunities for real-life application and research into topics. You will get out what you put into your experience. This was always intriguing to me because I thrive in environments where I am not limited to other’s expectations. I believe my MBA helps set me apart from others and conveys a certain amount of dedication and discipline. I also believe being a student-athlete and graduate assistant speaks volumes for my time management skills and ability to exceed expectations in any career I pursue.

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