An MBA wasn’t on her radar—now that she has 1, this marketing professional knows she can do anything

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Raysha Rhea is the Communication & Events Coordinator for the College of Business and Technology at UNA. She also just got her MBA. Photo via Samuel Thigpen

On December 11, Raysha Rhea graduated with an MBA from University of North Alabama’s College of Business and Technology. I’ve known Raysha for a while, and was eager to learn more about what it was like reaching this major milestone as a fellow working mom. Here’s her story.

Meet Raysha Rhea, MBA

MBA graduate Raysha Rhea
Raysha and her family are big Braves fans. Photo via Raysha Rhea

Born and raised in the Shoals area, Raysha Rhea and her husband Todd live in Florence with their four-year-old daughter Hazel. 

For 2.5 years, she’s worked in the College of Business and Technology at the University of North Alabama’s College of Business and Technology. This means she’s got a hand in all things marketing, communications and social media for the College and its related student groups.

Fun facts: 

  • Raysha’s family saw the Atlanta Braves in game six of the playoffs this year in Atlanta when they found out the team would be going to the World Series. 
  • Raysha was once on The Ellen DeGeneres Show and was chosen for a surprise trip to Vegas for a very memorable weekend.

Deciding to go back to school while working full time

UNA MBA graduate Raysha Rhea
Raysha with her family. Photo via Gean Photography

Raysha says that after receiving her undergraduate degree from UNA, she never actually intended to go back to school. Once she started working at her alma mater, though, she realized that she wanted to teach one day. 

At the same time, she and Todd were getting ready to start a new business. It’s called Rhea Farms, and their specialty will be highly sought-after miniature breeds of sheep (Babydoll sheep are sooooo cute) and chickens. They have plans to add other miniature animals down the road.

When she decided to enroll in the MBA, the Sales and New Business Development Concentration was the obvious choice to help her get ready for this new venture. 

Since she’d been out of school for 10 years, Raysha wanted to make sure she was up to speed—especially in the areas of social media, marketing and communication—both for her new biz and for her work at the University. 

Thinking of an MBA in 2022? UNA’s College of Business and Information Technology is accepting applications now for its online MBA program—the semester begins January 5, 2022.

Looking ahead, planning to teach

Raysha’s long-term goal is to teach social media and marketing classes. On the MBA, she worked closely with Dr. John Cicala, who helped her learn a lot about social media and e-marketing. 

“This helps me in my role today and will help me in the future when I’m teaching social media courses – I can teach students about the tools I have utilized and what’s been beneficial for us and our marketing initiatives at UNA.”

Raysha Rhea

Doing the MBA as a working mom

MBA graduate and daughter
Raysha Rhea and her daughter. Photo via Gean Photography

When Raysha first started the MBA, her daughter Hazel was two. “It was really hard at first to explain to a two-year-old that Mommy needs time to herself to study. But after a while, she understood, and my husband was always so supportive and made sure that I had time alone every week. I dedicated certain days of the week to studying.”

Looking back, Raysha says doing the program while working and being a mom required a lot of planning and working ahead, but wasn’t that bad. 

“When I did my undergrad, I did not apply myself as much as I should have so I was scared to do the MBA! I did not think I could do it at first, but now I am graduating with almost a 4.0 GPA. I am really proud of myself and realize that I can do anything I set my mind to in the future.”

Raysha Rhea

Raysha’s favorite part of the program

“My favorite part has been having professors that are so helpful when you need something. They really are willing to help you and they’re invested in their students.”

Raysha Rhea

Raysha also loved how flexible the program is. Because she wanted to finish it as quickly as possible, she took three classes most semesters. One semester she dropped down to two classes because of other commitments, and could have taken one if she wanted to. Being able to do it on her own terms made all the difference.

Better with a friend

UNA MBA graduate
Tori Bottoms (l) and Raysha Rhea (r) at graduation. Photo via Raysha Rhea

One aspect that made the program even better is that Raysha went through it with her friend Tori Bottoms. Raysha and Tori met when Tori was one of the undergrad students in UNA’s sales program. 

Doing the MBA together forged a strong friendship between the two women. They were able to help with questions or studying and cheer each other on. 

Raysha is also grateful for the new friends she made in her classes and groups that she could reach out to if she needed help.

Thinking of doing an MBA? Just do it.

The College of Business and Technology at UNA holds the prestigious AASCB accreditation, held by fewer than 5% of business colleges worldwide. This nationally and globally ranked MBA program is offered in both online and hybrid formats.

Here’s what you need to know: 

  • Required: a Bachelor’s degree, plus a GPA of 2.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Prerequisites: none
  • Format: 8-week courses, 5 starts per year
  • Graduation: in as few as 12-24 months
  • Concentrations: nine plus a create-your-own option
  • Cost: $17,850 (financial aid and scholarships available)

Finally, according to Raysha, who’s also a UNA undergrad alum, “Right now is a really great time for anyone with a degree from UNA to enroll because the university just launched an alumni scholarship, which reduces tuition by 15%.” 

Know you want to go? Request information or apply now for UNA’s online MBA starting January 5, 2022. 

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Sharron Swain
Writer, Interviewer + Adventurer | Telling stories to make a difference
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