Woodbury Alumna Bolsters Career with MBA

Rhonda Garrett, a recent Woodbury School of Business MBA graduate (’20), always dreamed of earning a college education, but she never imagined the serendipitous path that would lead her to Woodbury University.

A Whirlwind Journey from New Zealand to Australia to California

Growing up in Auckland, New Zealand, Rhonda was raised in a simple but idyllic lifestyle.  Her parents emigrated from a tiny isle in the south pacific, Niue Island, to provide a better life for her and her siblings, which included a college education.  She was always intent on getting a higher education, but before doing so, she moved to Sydney, Australia to explore life and become independent. “It was a gutsy move,” she admits, “but I always remembered my grandpop saying to go out into the world and see what you make of it.”  Luckily, Rhonda did just that.  For seven years, she lived in Australia working in the travel and hospitality industry.

During her time of self-discovery in Australia, it was by chance that Rhonda met her future husband, Jerome, who was a musician touring from California.  After keeping a long-distance relationship, she eventually took a leap of faith to marry and moved to the United States.

Gaining Valuable Work Training, While Pursuing Higher Education

Rhonda’s instinct to move to California also paid off for her professionally. She was soon hired at the prestigious law firm, Paul Hastings LLP, as a cash receipts coordinator. While she enjoyed her job, she decided it was time to pursue a part-time college education to help further her career, and enrolled at Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) in 2007.

For the next few years, Rhonda split her time between commuting to Downtown, Los Angeles, for her day job, and taking night classes at LAVC, where she met classmate and future Woodbury University instructor, Jack Condon, who changed her education trajectory. She says, “Jack and I had similar aspirations. He was on the fast-track to transfer, and when I was ready, he guided my transfer to Cal State University Northridge (CSUN), where I ultimately earned two degrees in 2018, double majoring in Management and Finance.”

The Next Chapter:  Woodbury University School of Business MBA Program

When she completed her undergraduate work, Rhonda planned to take a break from juggling full-time work, part-time school, with family time, but that didn’t happen. Jack, who recently finished the Woodbury MBA program, suggested she also pursue her MBA at the School of Business. “At first, I said absolutely not,” says Rhonda, “But Jack was persistent and constantly reminded me that I could complete the program within one year. Looking back, enrolling in the program was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!”

She recalls, “Once I began the MBA program, I was immediately invested in the classes, coursework, and instructors. The program gave me the freedom to creatively think, collaborate and discuss possible solutions to real-world issues.”

“In addition to the outstanding professors, I enjoyed the small class sizes, and getting to know my fellow students on a personal level through in-depth projects and presentations,” Rhonda continues. “The main reason I chose Woodbury’s School of Business is for its AACSB accreditation. Having the AACSB accreditation on my resume is another competitive added value in the business sector.”

New-Found Confidence and a Bright Future

With newfound confidence, Rhonda has a new perspective, which encourages her to move forward towards opportunities, instead of shying away from them. These opportunities, include a new position as a Client Service Specialist at the esteemed international law firm, Morrison & Foerster LLP, as well as putting her entrepreneurial talents to use by soon launching an online service business and business blog that will cater to providing growth for small businesses.  She is grateful for the support and encouragement she has received through Woodbury University while pursuing the goal of obtaining the higher education that she promised her parents.


Last Updated on July 26, 2021. 

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