When Virginia Meagher applied for the Master of Business Administration degree program at Notre Dame de Namur University, she didn’t even tell her husband. Almost three years later, she has changed professions and is making more money and planning for her family’s future.
“I attended college right out of high school, years ago,” the 44-year-old Mountain House mother said in an interview Monday. “I was a great student in high school. I was a terrible student in college.”
She had spent her professional life working with nonprofits but felt she needed more.
“Where I was, there wasn’t much growth potential,” Meagher said. “I’m looking at the next 25 years saying, ‘What else could I do? Am I going to be doing the same thing for the next 25 years that I’ve been doing for the last 25?’”
Then she walked into Barista’s coffee house one day and saw a flyer about an information night at a university that had just set up shop in Tracy.
“It was like: ‘I can do an MBA in Tracy?’” she said of her response to reading about NDNU. “Before I left the information night, I filled out my application.”
NDNU is celebrating its third anniversary of classes in Tracy. They started in September 2015 with two programs, the MBA and an intensive business bachelor’s degree completion program. The university now offers local scholars two Bachelor of Science programs, in business administration and human services; two masters programs, in business administration and special education; and teaching credential programs, as well as online degrees.
Meagher was nervous about making a change in her 40s and didn’t share her plans with her husband — until the day of her first class.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to be home until 10:30 tonight,’” she recalls of that conversation. “He said, ‘Oh, do you have something after work?’ I said, ‘Yeah. I started an MBA.’ He jumped! God bless him, he said, ‘OK, are you sure this is what you want to do?’ I said yes. He said, ‘OK, let me know how class goes.’”
Meagher said the two years of four-hour classes every Wednesday flew by.
“It was not easy in terms of doing the work,” she said. “I’ve got three kids — working full time while doing it.”
She is now working in the East Bay as a project and finance manager for a national company, a job she said she never would have been considered for without her MBA.
“The degree has provided a significant boost to our family earnings and to prepare for our future and putting our kids through college and potentially one day from retiring from work,” she said.
She gives credit to NDNU educators and local administrators who helped her manage the demands of her education and her family. Meagher said her teachers not only taught her business and finance administration, but also encouraged her to use her MBA to help others and find a new passion in life.
Now, with new knowledge combined with her skills and experience from her previous profession, the mother of three has a brighter outlook.
“I feel energized and enthusiastic about the next 25 years of work. I’m not going to win that big Powerball,” she said with a laugh.
Get more information about the NDNU Tracy programs at http://tracy.ndnu.edu/programs.