As a senior at Bop Hope School in Port Arthur, Texas, Jessenia Gutierrez was searching for a career path to take.
“A lot of the feedback I got from my friends was that I should do something related to computers,” she said. “I had an interest in computers, but I knew I didn’t want to do in-depth computer science.”
Gutierrez graduated from the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Management Information Systems on-campus program at Lamar University in 2019. The program built on her interests in ways she found ideal. The university has since launched an online program taught by the same highly qualified instructors.
“It’s computer science at an easier level with business tied into it,” she said. “You get technology and business, so it’s the best of both worlds. It was exactly what I was looking for.”
Gutierrez landed a position as an information technology business analyst for Motiva Enterprises in their Houston corporate office not long after graduation. She has been employed there ever since.
“I like what I do,” she said. “It’s full of opportunities and challenging in a positive way. I like being able to figure things out. I do a lot more with coding than I planned, but in a good way.”
Gutierrez learned much outside of the classroom as a student, as well. She worked as an assistant in high school and at Lamar University.
“I always want to learn more,” she said. “Being able to work on campus gave me a better connection to the staff and the professors I was already interacting with.
“It allowed me to see them in a different light and build my relationships with them after having them in my undergraduate classes. If I were to go into the graduate program down the line, I’ve had a sneak peek at it.”
Each of the courses in the BBA in Management Information Systems program curriculum provided a solid foundation to set Gutierrez up for success in her career.
“The program prepared me for the real world,” she said. “I still reference the knowledge that I gained in the program today — especially with database table design and basic coding syntax. If you understand one syntax, you can pick up others.”
Gutierrez didn’t have to wait long to see her hard work and the bachelor’s degree pay off with a job in her career field.
“Wanting to learn and understanding database structure and simple syntax coding helped me get my foot in the door,” she said. She believes that her drive to succeed and her interest in understanding Motiva’s operations will help her.
Along with her three brothers, Gutierrez is part of the first generation in her family to attend college and earn a degree. Both parents — and her father, Juan, in particular — are especially proud of the accomplishment.
“My father was nervous when I got close to graduation and hadn’t heard back about a job yet,” she said. “I interviewed with Motiva my last month of school.
“My siblings and I are first-generation college graduates. Seeing my parents proud of me made me even more proud of myself.”
Gutierrez, who enjoys reading and spending time with her dog, is glad that Lamar University had what she was looking for with the BBA in Management Information Systems program. Now that she is a graduate, she has some advice for potential students:
“Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors — they are there to help you,” she said. “You don’t want to be the one person who doesn’t get it, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Having that relationship with your professors is important.
“Challenge yourself to understand what you’re doing. When you understand the basic concepts, you can apply them anywhere.”
Learn more about Lamar University’s online BBA in Management Information Systems program.