Kristy Armas originally came to Woodbury University in the 1990s as a transfer student from a community college. At Woodbury, she went on to earn her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management. Twenty years later, Kristy would return to the School of Business, this time to earn her MBA degree.
Kristy has spent the last fifteen years working in philanthropy and has held various roles at a variety of nonprofit organizations. Her past titles have included Coordinator, Development at City of Hope; Major Gifts Officer at Los Angeles Mission, Inc.; and Director of Development at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. Kristy currently holds the position of Philanthropy Officer with the Union Rescue Mission- Los Angeles. We spoke with Kristy about her journey to Woodbury, her experience as a student in the School of Business, the impact having a graduate degree has had on her career and her journey since graduating from the MBA program.
My journey to Woodbury was a long one but well worth it. I first learned about Woodbury University while in high school after I heard a presentation about the school. My gut was telling me to just go there from the get-go, but [I chose] to go into a Cal State system school instead. Then, after going through a state university, I decided it might be better for me to attend a community college because I felt I was getting lost in the sea of students in every class at the state university system.
Though a community college was smaller than a state university, it still [was not] small enough for me. One day, they had a recruiter on campus at the community college, and I ended up speaking with her and sharing my concerns with the schools I had been attending. She was kind and patient and explained how Woodbury offered small, individualized attention for every student. This is the place I knew would allow me to thrive and thrive I did. I went on to graduate Cum Laude with a BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management.
Twenty years passed by, and I remembered the great experience I had at Woodbury when going through my undergrad so, when I was finally ready to get my MBA, I went back to Woodbury to pursue that degree. I graduated within two years and was nominated to be part of the prestigious Delta Mu Delta Society. In addition to recalling the great experience I had when going through my undergrad, I kept meeting people throughout my life whom I respected very much that had also attended Woodbury. The great reputation of the business school was something very important to me, and [I] knew I would be in the right spot once again.
My experience with the business school was just as good if not better than my undergrad years, because of the level of education I was gaining from experts in their respective fields. Getting a graduate degree is so different than getting an undergraduate degree because you are looking at things through a different lens.
I can wholeheartedly say that the School of Business and the level of education that I received prepared me for the doors that were going to unfold for me after graduation. The School of Business prides itself on building leaders, and a lot of my colleagues and friends whom I know who have graduated from Woodbury have gone on to aspire to great heights, including myself.
Certain faculty members come to mind and have stood out over the years when I remember the gold nuggets they imparted. I would say, Dr. Nathan Garrett, Dr. Joan Marques, Dr. Satinder Dhiman, and Dr. Alexandra Saba really had a very special impact on my education and experience there.
I believe the emphasis on leadership and how to be nimble in the business world is something that brought great value to my education. I felt very prepared and ready to take on some exciting challenges that came my way. If I [did not] really know or understand something in the workforce, I felt I had enough information to know how to attain the information I needed to complete tasks.
Since having acquired my last degree, the MBA, I ventured off into some additional leadership training and have been working in the nonprofit sector, raising a lot of money over the past 15 years of being in the field of philanthropy. [I have] held both staff and leadership positions at various organizations. Today [I am] putting my gifts and talents into raising money to end homelessness for one of the largest homeless shelters in Los Angeles. [I am] extremely proud to be working for such an important and humbling cause. [It is] a great feeling to be a part of the solution for such a devastating cause that can literally happen to anyone.
My advice for prospective or incoming business students is to keep your options open. You may come in thinking you want to do something, and life and opportunities may lead you to a different path. You have to be ready, willing, and open to embracing what may come your way. Learn as much as you can, ask a lot of questions, and get involved in everything and anything that may expose you to leadership opportunities. This is especially true for very young students out of high school and those in graduate programs.
Last Updated on December 8, 2022.