United States Marine Corps veteran Jesus Rosales credits his mentor, Dr. Josiah Roldan, with giving him the push to pursue a master’s degree.
“We come from very similar backgrounds,” he said of Dr. Roldan, who is also his former boss. “We are both first-generation Americans who served in the military, so we bonded quickly.
“Dr. Roldan has taught at the university level. He always told me to work on myself and focus on becoming better and more knowledgeable. That’s when I started researching different programs around the area.”
Rosales followed through and graduated from the online Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Business Analytics program at Southern Oregon University (SOU) in June 2021.
“I was looking for something online because I work full time,” he said. “I am also a single parent, so it’s worth it for me to be able to study when I could and have that flexibility.
“It was important to find a program that would give me that ability, which attracted me to Southern Oregon. I also thought I would get more bang for my buck at SOU than the bigger schools. The online format made it really manageable. I could take care of schoolwork on my off nights and weekends.”
An operations and policy analyst for the state of Oregon, Rosales has three daughters — Faith (15), Grace (11) and Joy (10).
Rosales’ commitment to the MBA program helped his daughters “realize that you can still be successful with school and move forward — even during COVID-19,” he said. “I hope they pick up those habits. I remember my daughters being at the table doing homework with me.”
Rosales was born and raised in Salem. His family consistently emphasized public service.
“My mother also worked for the state of Oregon in child welfare,” he said. “She helped out with removing children from dire circumstances.
“Plus, I was a law enforcement cadet at a young age. I saw a lot of things on the streets in the community that sowed my belief in public service. I wanted to serve in any way I could.”
After serving his country for eight-and-a-half years, Rosales focused on his education. He graduated with an associate degree from Chemeketa Community College in 2012. Two years later, he completed a bachelor’s degree in public administration at Western Oregon University.
“I have always been a fan of local and regional schools,” he said. “I fell in love with small class sizes, so I knew that’s the type of school I wanted to go to for the master’s degree.”
MBA 575: Advanced Organizational Behavior and MBA 520: Economic Analysis were Rosales’ two favorite courses in the online MBA in Business Analytics curriculum.
“I enjoyed the format of Advanced Organizational Behavior,” he said. “Being able to have a one-on-one discussion with the professor during the term opened my perspective to focus on where I am with my career and my future goals.
“The data analytics course was interesting and taught me different skills concerning our open software, and I got to apply it to my job. I am using it to help monitor different metrics we get from different databases. I am more about making things better and doing things easier or more efficiently.”
Rosales wrapped up his experience at SOU by walking the graduation stage at the commencement ceremony. He is the first person in his immediate family to earn a master’s degree.
“I had very good support from my friends and family,” he said. “My mother and father have always been big fans and advocates for me to continue my education. They helped me out throughout my endeavors. They helped me take care of the kids when I had to hit the books.”
Now that Rosales has graduated, he has some advice for potential students in the online MBA in Business Analytics program:
“Compare the programs and see which one fits your schedule,” he said. “Also, be flexible. I knew I wanted an MBA, but I would recommend talking to people who have that degree and asking how it helps them. Work with that information to move forward into the program.”
Although Rosales plans to continue serving the community in any capacity he can, he believes having a master’s degree will open up several opportunities for him.
“I have seen education reinforce what I learned in the military and provide that leadership,” he said. “Getting out of the service, we have so many skills, but people we interact with are sometimes not sure how to approach us.
“Going back to school and getting that education has helped me progress in my career. I understand more than if I had jumped straight from the military into that role. It helped broaden my skill set and become more well-rounded.”
Learn more about SOU’s MBA with a concentration in Business Analytics online program.