It's not hard to see why Jackie Schlosser has spent the last decade working as a power of attorney and trustee for a private family. The Lake Forest, Illinois, native is all about covering her bases.
Schlosser graduated from the on-campus Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting program at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside as the 2019 Outstanding Graduate with a 3.86 GPA.
"I knew that the position I was in would eventually not be there, so I went into the undergraduate program to make myself more marketable," she said. "Once I got my feet wet and dove into the deep end, I realized I needed to keep going."
Now, Schlosser is on track to graduate from the Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Finance online program in May 2021.
"I realized that in order to get my CPA certification, I needed 150 credit hours," she said. "I had two choices: more undergraduate classes or master's classes. It was an easy decision."
The switch to the online program has saved Schlosser time and made earning the degree more manageable while she searches for a job.
"It's working out very well — particularly because of COVID-19," she said. "I know some schools were scrambling to get organized to switch to online classes. I knew UW-Parkside was already organized since I had taken a few of their classes for my undergraduate degree.
"I cut out my commuting time. I had scheduled about an hour and a half each way because I never want to be late to class. It has saved 12-15 hours a week switching to online. It was an easy transition."
Time to Diversify
Schlosser, a former flight attendant, still resides in her hometown. She and her husband, Randy, have three adult children — Joseph, Johnathan and Jacqueline — whom she homeschooled.
After researching potential career fields when she was ready to return to work, Schlosser zeroed in on finance and accounting.
"My grandparents were bookkeepers," she said. "My stepfather was an accountant. I don't know why it never crossed my mind to go into accounting earlier. It just didn't. I guess it is because you evolve and change in life and realize some things are accessible and doable."
After earning a bachelor's degree at UW-Parkside, where she was vice president of the accounting club, Schlosser returned for a master's degree in February 2020. She currently has a 4.0 GPA.
"I looked into some other schools," she said. "I had a geographical area in mind and checked the accreditations. The AACSB [Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business] was important to me. Tuition price was also important."
Schlosser looks forward to learning more about investments and applying that knowledge to her current role.
"The master's program further solidified the knowledge I got from the bachelor's program and expanded it more," she said. "I use almost everything I have learned in different areas."
Making a Statement
Schlosser has had a strong support system in place throughout her higher education journey at UW-Parkside.
"My family and friends are excited for me," she said. "I was able to invite several of my friends to join me at the graduation ceremony. It was really exciting that my adult children saw me graduate. Getting the Outstanding Graduate Award was special. It was a big moment."
If the pandemic allows, Schlosser plans to walk the graduation stage again before embarking on a change in career direction. She will be the first person in her immediate family to earn a master's degree.
"I absolutely wouldn't miss the commencement ceremony," she said. "I worked so hard for it. I'm all in."
Although the online MBA in Finance program is ideal for working adults because it's asynchronous, Schlosser believes that it's important to maintain downtime while earning a degree.
"I would say dive in, work hard, but remember to schedule self-care into your routine to maintain your mental health and brain power," she said. "Accounting and finance are not easy subjects. That downtime is important to recharge the battery."
Schlosser enjoys forensic and traditional genealogy, playing board games with her family, mixing craft cocktails, cooking and exercising. She is also a volunteer registrar for the Daughters of the American Revolution and an advanced tax preparer in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program through the IRS.
She hopes to soon transition to a new role as she heads down the home stretch of the online MBA in Finance program.
"I am looking forward to a position in finance or accounting — ideally, something that would merge the two," she said. "I am particularly interested in financial planning, but I am interviewing for accounting positions and working on my CPA. The degree has already opened opportunities for me."
Learn more about UW-Parkside's online MBA in Finance program.
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