Growing up in Poland, Edyta Odorowska-Duleba had no idea she would one day immigrate to the United States and earn a second bachelor's and master's degree.
Odorowska-Duleba is enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Parkside's Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Global Management online program and is on track to graduate in December 2021. She started the MBA in April 2019, and even with some sessions off, she will manage to complete the requirements in two short years.
"I came to the U.S. in 2000 for a better life, and I found it. I didn't even speak any English," she said.
As a resident of Kenosha, Wisconsin, Odorowska-Duleba immediately found a job and started taking night classes to learn the language. When she felt comfortable with her English skills, she investigated UW-Parkside down the street and liked what she found.
She graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's in business management with concentrations in finance and accounting from UW-Parkside and earned CPA certification within a year. Her favorite part of her undergrad experience was learning from seasoned professors.
"They had years of experience in the business world before they became instructors and could share life lessons with us," she said. "Gaining that knowledge has made me a better employee and that is what made me want to stay at UW-Parkside [for my MBA]."
Flexible Program, Global Reach
For the past year, Odorowska-Duleba has worked as a senior finance manager for Abbott's global pharmaceutical division, supporting the licensing and acquisition unit.
"I'm motivated to do the MBA program because I want to give more to my work and help the company grow," she said. "I want to do something that will improve people's lives.
"I wanted to go back to UW-Parkside because I knew my professors would make the time to mentor me."
She was the first in her family to obtain a college degree and a master's in mathematics in Poland. The UW-Parkside MBA is her first online learning experience.
"I had always learned on campus, so I didn't know how an online program would work," she said, "but it was wonderful! With working full time, being a mother and wife, and trying to take care of my home — this worked beautifully with my schedule. My son is 9 years old and in third grade, so he needs a lot of help from me. The online courses are so well planned that I can be organized and know I'm going to meet the deadlines."
Odorowska-Duleba marvels at how she can even use her lunch hour to study or to do projects. She sometimes listens to lectures or reads articles on her laptop or iPhone while she's at her son's soccer practice.
"Evenings, weekends, early mornings — I can manage my own schedule and study whatever I want to study," she said. "We have clear deadlines, so I know how to manage my time."
A Few of Her Favorite Things
Odorowska-Duleba likes the food for thought she has gathered from courses that often brought plenty of articles to read, projects to do, and opportunities to express one's opinions.
"UW-Parkside promotes inclusion and diversity, and for me, that's very important. I grew to respect other people's opinions and to value inclusion and diversity," she said, noting her participation in project groups in her courses that include international students. She believes this will help her with the management responsibilities in her job.
Her coursework for the MBA with a Concentration in Global Management online program helped her become more well-rounded in general.
"I'm a CPA, so most of my career was spent in accounting/finance, but this MBA program opened my eyes to how qualified I am for many occupations," she said. "I feel like I'm so valuable now, and I can go for any job I want."
Sharing the Love
Odorowska-Duleba has had both former and current co-workers enroll in UW-Parkside's online MBA program thanks to her glowing reviews. She encourages anyone with a tuition reimbursement benefit at work to take advantage of it.
Though she and her husband started their MBAs at different times and do not get to take any courses together, they still spend time studying together.
In her free time, Odorowska-Duleba enjoys cross-country skiing with her family, biking, rollerblading and traveling. For now, she is focused on completing her MBA, growing in her finance manager role at Abbott and setting an example for her 9-year-old.
"My son sees how I prioritize my time and stay organized," Odorowska-Duleba said. "He has become very successful at school, too, because he is watching me. He's organized and has very good grades. I love that I can model positive habits for him.
"UW-Parkside has a wonderful program. You're going to learn a lot. You're going to bring your value up. It's 100% online so you can choose how long it takes to complete. No matter how long that is, it is worth it. You're going to gain so much."
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