Balancing gymnastics AND a Full-Time MBA? See how this Auburn grad did it


Kelsey Kopec, Auburn
Kelsey Kopec, a graduate of Auburn University’s MBA program. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

Think performing gymnastics at a college level is tough? Imagine finding time for collegiate sports while studying for a Master of Business Administration degree. It may sound impossible, but that’s exactly what Auburn University grad Kelsey Kopec accomplished during her time at college.

We caught up with Kelsey to learn more about her experience with Auburn’s Full-Time MBA program.

Meet Kelsey Kopec

Growing up, Kelsey Kopec always dreamed of being a collegiate gymnast. Throughout middle and high school, she worked hard and trained with that in mind, and when it came time to choose where she wanted to go for college, Kelsey narrowed down her search to schools with gymnastics programs. When Kelsey decided to join the Auburn Gymnastics Team, it was like a dream come true—the Auburn University campus felt like home, and she fell in love with the school’s traditions.

During her freshman year, Kelsey was red-shirted—meaning she couldn’t take part in gymnastics competitions. However, she was still eligible to compete for four years, which opened up new opportunities at Auburn.

Balancing Gymnastics with a Full-Time MBA

Despite completing her engineering degree in four years, Kelsey was determined to utilize her fourth year of athletic eligibility to compete in gymnastics.

Kelsey: “I knew that I wanted to continue doing gymnastics, and I knew that I loved Auburn. Why not take this opportunity to continue my education? Since I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do the technical engineering work that I had studied for with my undergrad degree, I decided to try something new and pursue a Master of Business Administration degree.”

Auburn University’s Full-Time MBA program is designed to help students enhance their business skills and give them a leg up on the competition, and that’s not all.

Kelsey: “At the time, I was living off campus but taking full-time classes in person at Auburn. Being a collegiate athlete, I wasn’t very outgoing or confident working with others. The Full-Time MBA program provided me with the opportunity to work with people every day, so I could step out of my shell and interact with people in and out of the classroom—it really shaped me into the person I am today in the workforce.”

Click here to learn more about Auburn University’s Full-Time MBA.

Student-Athlete, Engineering Degree and Full-Time MBA

Kelsey Kopec, Auburn
Kelsey Kopec, a graduate of Auburn University’s MBA program. (Nathan Watson / Bham Now)

After graduating from Auburn University in 2017, Kelsey joined the team at Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc. and worked her way up to her current role as Dangerous Goods Safety Advisor for MBUSI & North American Parts Logistics. Every day, Kelsey works with facilities to make sure that when they ship dangerous items—like lithium batteries, car engines and airbags—, these items meet the international and domestic regulations to ensure safety.

Kelsey: “When I first joined Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc., I started off as a process engineer which gave me the perfect balance of hands-on technical analysis while also being able to build my team-building skills with my coworkers. All the skills that I learned through Auburn University’s Full-Time MBA program allowed me to be successful in my first role at MBUSI. Even though I didn’t know all the rules and regulations on my first day, Auburn taught me how to ask for help when I needed it, how to step out of my comfort zone and how to be confident in my decisions.”

As for others considering pursuing an MBA? Here’s some advice from Kelsey.

Kelsey: “Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. A Master’s degree, regardless of the subject, can seem overwhelming and daunting. I would really encourage anyone to step outside of their comfort zone and give it a shot. After completing my MBA, I feel so much more confident in my abilities, which has really made an impact in my professional career.”

Want to learn more about Auburn University’s Full-Time MBA program or their other graduate programs? Visit their website or click here to schedule an online meeting with Program Admissions.

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Nathan Watson
Nathan Watson

Senior Content Producer at Bham Now

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