Business degree, full time job + life—how one woman makes time for it all

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Gabriella Anderson
Gabriella Anderson. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Gabriella Anderson has worked at Chick-fil-A since high school. Now she’s taking her career to the next level with the online Bachelor of Business Administration Flex (BBA Flex) program at University of North Alabama (UNA). We asked how she’s making it all work. Here’s what she said.

Gabriella Anderson currently serves as the HR + Training Director at the Inverness Chick-fil-A

Gabriella and her boyfriend, BBA Flex
Gabriella and her boyfriend Samuel Perry met at Chick-fil-A. (Photo copywright of Emily Rose Photography)

Gabriella Anderson’s lived her whole life in Central Alabama, where she’s passionate about cooking, baking and exploring local coffee shops. 

For almost six years now, she’s been at Chick-fil-A, which was her first job in high school. She loves it and can’t imagine being anywhere else. It’s the place where she met her longtime boyfriend, along with other important people in her life.

Currently, she serves as the Training + HR Director at the Inverness location.

Why she decided to enroll in the online BBA Flex program at University of North Alabama (UNA)

Gabriella Anderson, BBA Flex
Gabriella Anderson at Chick-fil-A. (Gabriella Anderson)

Anderson’s college career started at Jeff State, where she juggled work with in-person classes. She first learned about UNA by looking through resources they had about university programs across the state.

UNA’s BBA Flex program stood out because it was entirely online, with the option to take two 8-week courses per 16-week semester. This gives students the option to get more classes done in the same amount of time without feeling overwhelmed. And, there’s a short break in between the two 8-week periods so you can have a mental reset.

In addition, University of North Alabama was attractive for two main reasons:

  1. They offered a Community College Transfer Scholarship.
  2. They would accept the private scholarship she got from Chick-fil-A.

She was really surprised by what happened when she applied to UNA. The very next morning, a program advisor called her. An hour later she had a complete plan of what her entire degree program would look like—less than 24 hours from when she first applied.

Does this sound like the right fit for you? If so, hop over here to learn more about the BBA Flex program today

What it’s like doing the program while working + what UNA does to help students succeed

Gabriella Anderson, BBA Flex
There’s a lot to juggle when you’re working full-time and working toward a degree. (Gabriella Anderson)

Doing the program while working has been “like a long marathon,” and having classes online has made all the difference. Anderson really appreciates the scheduling flexibility the online program offers. Many of the classes are online for students to watch whenever works best for their schedule.

She’s been really impressed at how accessible university services are to her as an online student. Some examples include:

  • Getting resume help from the career center
  • Finding digital copies of materials in the library
  • Getting quick email responses from advisors, teaching assistants and professors
  • Working with financial aid and the cashier’s office on tuition payments

The biggest surprise: making a new friend

One concern Anderson had about enrolling in an entirely online program was lack of social connections. Little did she know that she and another woman would end up taking six or seven classes together.

Not only that, but they’ve been randomly selected to be in the same group for group projects in each of those classes. The two work really well together.

“It’s almost like having a school friend, even though we have never met—we’ve spent so much time on Zoom or Teams or chatting back and forth. That’s been awesome. That’s something I did not expect—to make a friend in an online program.”

Gabriella Anderson

Thinking of enrolling?

Keller Hall, UNA
Keller Hall houses UNA’s College of Business and Technology (Bham Now)

To anyone considering UNA’s BBA Flex program , Anderson says “Definitely consider it—I’ve had a very positive experience, and it has been the right choice for me.”

You can even get your first class for free with UNA’s New Start Scholarship. Eight-week classes begin March 2, so it is not too late to enroll for Spring 2022 semester.

Want to learn more about UNA’s BBA Flex program? Hop over here today to take the first steps toward your brighter future.

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Sharron Swain

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

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