Our JBU story: The Giraldo Siblings
For Carlos, Tatiana, and Roger Giraldo, the JBU Degree Completion Program not only provided them the opportunity to finish their bachelor's degrees, it allowed them to do so as a family.
Born and raised in Colombia, the three siblings were attending NorthWest Arkansas Community College and working full-time when a human resource manager recommended JBU's Degree Completion Program.
"I did some research on the internet about John Brown University," Roger said. "And when I read about how great its academic reputation was, I was excited to enroll. So my brother and I drove to the Rogers Center to get some information, and then we told my sister about it."
Along with 21 other students in northwest Arkansas, the Giraldo siblings began the organizational management degree completion program in August of 2009 with the NW70 cohort. The program's unique class scheduling and cohort model particularly appealed to each of them.
"One of the things I really liked about the organizational management program is how everything is already set up for you," Roger said. "You don't do a lot of driving around from class to class. Your class schedule is already done and you know every night you'll have class from the beginning."
In addition to scheduling, the cohort system was a major strength of the Degree Completion Program for Tatiana. "I loved the structure of the program," she said. "The people in our cohort were so supportive. It was like a family; we talked, we shared ideas, and we helped each other. It motivated me to learn."
Within the small cohorts, the varied backgrounds of the students provide perspective for business application. "Our cohort was very diverse," Carlos said. "The students had a lot of different career experiences, so were are differing viewpoints. But each person in the group added to my understanding of the concepts, and gave me a broader understanding of business."
And while the scheduling and sharing of experiences was easy, Roger is quick to clarify that the classes weren't. "Don't get me wrong; the program is tough," he said. "But I loved doing my homework. I worked hard, but I know my effort was rewarded with better preparation for my career."
Unlike a traditional degree program, where students take multiple classes during a 16-week semester, the Degree Completion Program delivery of one-class-at-a-time for five weeks was helpful for Tatiana. "The five-week class format allowed me to master each subject," she said. "I feel like I could focus on one subject and totally understand it before moving on."
The Giraldo siblings received their bachelor's degrees in May, 2011. "Now that I have my degree, I have the credentials I need for my career," Carlos said. "I already had the experience; now I have the education to back up my knowledge."
For Tatiana, a bachelor's degree was the realization of a lifelong goal. "Education is very important to me," she said. "Getting a degree makes me very proud; proud of myself, proud of my brothers."
"This program prepared us to be successful," Carlos said. "JBU was a great choice for all three of us."