As the City of Phoenix elections coordinator for citizen support, Whitney Juszczak hopes she is the ideal candidate for a promotion after graduating from the online Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Business Analytics program at Southern Oregon University in September 2022.
“The goal is to become deputy city clerk over elections for the City of Phoenix,” she said. “Having this degree helps me get there.”
Juszczak enrolled after her husband, Matthew, recommended that she look into online degree programs at the university. He is an SOU alumnus.
“Matthew is chief technical officer of a marketing company, so his degree worked out for him,” she said. “He also had a good experience at the school and thought the MBA would be useful.
“Plus, he liked that, based off what he has heard from other people, SOU is listening to its students’ input, so what you are learning there is especially useful.”
The flexibility of the online format was essential for Juszczak — especially when election season approached in the Valley of the Sun.
“One of the best things about SOU is that I got to build my schedule around elections,” she said. “My whole life revolves around elections.
“The flexibility was convenient. Otherwise, I would have had to take breaks between elections to get the master’s degree done.”
Debating the Future
Juszczak is from San Diego, but she graduated with an associate degree from Rogue Community College, in Oregon, in 2013. Two years later, she added a bachelor’s degree in public health from Oregon State University, where she worked in food science research.
Before coming to the City of Phoenix, she was a health program manager and Food and Drug Administration inspector for the Arizona Department of Health Services for two years.
“I always had an interest in election laws,” she said. “I have been in my position since 2019. Careers take paths you are not anticipating.
“I took doors that were appealing to me when they opened, which led me to what I do now. My undergrad degree is not directly applicable to my current role.”
After enrolling at SOU in March 2021, Juszczak could immediately apply the information she gained in the program to her job.
“In the Strategic Operations Management course, there was a learning curve application that we used to figure out the percentage of time it takes someone to learn to do a function in manufacturing, which I applied immediately to elections,” she said.
“While we don’t need to save money, we do need to save time. Our timelines are specific to hit the legal deadlines. Being able to know what our learning curve is and how I can get a better idea of estimating our numbers was useful to me.”
Business Analytics was Juszczak’s favorite course in the online MBA with a Concentration in Business Analytics program curriculum.
“We learned about SQL [Structured Query Language], Tableau and GIS [Geographical Information Systems] in that course,” she said. “Those are hands-on software systems in languages that you find useful. Having that information and that experience was great. It was applicable to my career.”
Juszczak celebrated her accomplishment by participating in a virtual graduation ceremony in the summer. She had plenty of encouragement during her return to higher education.
“My family and friends were excited and supportive,” she said. “It was pretty tight down the stretch because I am on the November 8 ballot, but I was able to do them both. I am happy to be done with the degree.”
Now that Juszczak has a master’s degree, she hopes to see a quick return on her investment.
“I believe earning this degree will create opportunities for me,” she said. “Our deputy city clerk over elections position is opening up soon. I intend to stay in government, but the MBA opens doors for me if I choose not to later.”
Juszczak, who enjoys hiking and wood burning in her free time, believes that making time for schoolwork while earning an MBA online is the key to success.
“Whatever amount of time you think you need, build in more time,” she said. “It’s a lot of work but worth it. I got good value out of the MBA in Business Analytics program at Southern Oregon University.”
Learn more about SOU’s online MBA with a Concentration in Business Analytics program.