Kelley Lester spent plenty of time holding down a job after starting a family. It helped put food on the table, but she longed to start a career.
“I am a non-traditional student. I lived a little before I ended up going to school,” said Lester, mother to Katherine (28), Dane (25) and Trinity (18).
However, Lester worked hard and graduated from the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Management Information Systems (MIS) on-campus program at Lamar University in 2012. The university has since launched an online program taught by the same highly qualified instructors.
“Lamar was the best opportunity for me because it was right there, at home,” she said. “It fit my needs to be able to go to school as a mother.”
Lester is now a data analyst at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas. She will celebrate her 10-year work anniversary in November 2022.
“I started off trying to go into computer science,” she said. “Then, I took some business classes and really fell in love with them.
While she thought she might enjoy the elements of building computers, the coursework on data analytics interested Lester more. She admitted that information analysis was the right fit for her.
Cleared for Takeoff
Lester was born in League City, Texas, and raised in Sabine Pass, Texas, 28 miles from the Lamar University campus in Beaumont.
She enrolled in the BBA in Management Information Systems program in 2007. Shortly after walking the graduation stage, Lester landed a job.
“My family and friends were very happy for me,” she said. “They supported me. I was debating whether or not to walk. My mom said, ‘You’re walking.’ I am glad that she did. It was a blast.”
After earning the bachelor’s degree, Lester had no trouble transitioning from a job to a career. She briefly worked as a student research assistant while enrolled at Lamar University.
“I liked all of the management information systems courses in the program,” she said. “Learning how to work with databases and SQL was fun.
“I also liked the accounting course. The program prepared me well for my career at Lockheed Martin.”
With nearly a decade of real-world experience under her belt, Lester loves what she does and hopes to continue working as a data analyst in the foreseeable future.
“This is my ultimate career goal,” she said. “We are branching out into Tableau and other systems, but it’s still dealing with the database and dealing with the data. That’s what makes me happy. I also love living in Fort Worth.”
Although Lester did not start college right after high school, she found earning a career-enhancing degree worth the wait. She is happy to call herself a graduate of Lamar University.
“I definitely got good value out of the BBA in Management Information Systems program,” she said. “I would tell anyone considering it to go for it. It’s a great program.”
Lester, who enjoys reading and playing video games in her free time, had such a positive experience earning a bachelor’s degree that she is thinking of enrolling in a master’s degree program.
If she decides to go back to school after a 10-year hiatus and take the next step in her higher education career, she will have more flexibility with her schedule this time around.
“Doing it online would be a bonus,” she said. “If I do it, I would go to Lamar again. I enjoyed my experience.”
Learn more about Lamar University’s online BBA in MIS program.