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Sofia Escobar Thrives in Online MBA Program While Laying Groundwork for Future

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Starting an art school for kids while living abroad in Malaysia led Sofia Escobar to discover her true calling.

“I was adopted when I was 11 years old,” she said. “Most of my birth family went to prison. When discovering my heritage, I developed a deep passion for people who had been incarcerated.

“I had an epiphany to help people who had previously been in jail transition back into society using the social skills I developed for the kids in school.”

That goal also led Escobar to the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a Concentration in Healthcare Administration program at Southern Oregon University (SOU). She graduated summa cum laude and won the MBA program’s Outstanding Graduate Student Award in June 2022.

“I needed to have positioning to fund this community and get grants,” she said. “I decided to get an MBA in healthcare administration because it’s a great platform for mental wellness for people who have been incarcerated to form a community.

“The foundation of going back to school and earning this degree was providing mental wellness and social skills for these people. Alongside that, I want to have a college to help them develop their trade skills.”

Escobar, an administrator at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital in her hometown of Hood River, Oregon, enjoyed the flexibility of the online format. In addition to working full time, she has a partner, Steph Paul, and two children ages 14 and 11.

“The online format in the MBA in Healthcare Administration program worked well for me,” she said. “I took the program very seriously. I was also an industry champion for business strategy development within my school and top four in the world.”

Home, Sweet Home

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis on speech from Bushnell University in 2009, Escobar worked for Herbalife. That job took her around the world, including stops in Norway and Costa Rica.

“My other colleagues were shifting to Malaysia, so I did, too,” she said. “I ended up meeting my late husband there, getting married and having kids. I came back to the United States on Christmas Eve, 2018.”

Two years later, Escobar returned to higher education. She looked at other universities but zeroed in on SOU.

“Southern Oregon University has the most amazing, rigorous program,” she said. “It is the best MBA school in Oregon, and it was a fraction of the cost of other programs, so I signed up. I’m glad that I did.”

Escobar also became a big fan of the business department faculty, including R. John Kaegi and Dr. René Leo E. Ordoñez.

“The professors at SOU actually care,” she said. “When I emailed them, they emailed me back and held themselves accountable to their students. I felt so supported.

“If I had a question, they were right there for me. They knew that I was taking my education seriously, and they supported that. They were like guides.”

Escobar said she used the information she learned in the online MBA in Healthcare Administration program curriculum in her current role. She believes the degree also prepared her to move forward and work toward her goal.

“SOU prepared me so well for the next step,” she said. “I took statistics, learned how to take surveys and get data and use it. It was amazing. Having this MBA will 100% open up opportunities for me in my career.

Head of the Class

Escobar had a great experience walking the graduation stage at the commencement ceremony — especially celebrating her impressive accolades with her family.

“It was amazing,” she said. “I sat right in the front row. The ceremony was televised. I was one of the first called up. I got a plaque with my name engraved on it.

“My family was close by, so I went over and gave my plaque to my children. I think that made a huge impression on them — I hope it did. I am so glad they were able to see that. They are happy for me to be successful.”

With an MBA under her belt, Escobar plans to continue her return to higher education by earning a Ph.D. She hopes to begin next year.

“I look forward to working with people in the field who are already doing similar work,” she said. “That’s why I am so passionate about everything I participate in.

“It’s all focused on this community — even working at the hospital, learning about insurance and the process of health claims for when I start it.”

Escobar, who enjoys reading and hiking in her free time, is glad that she found her way to SOU to pave the way to make her dream a reality.

“The MBA in Healthcare Administration program is very rigorous,” she said. “People who want to learn should take this program. It’s phenomenal. It’s so affordable for the value you get.

“I had the most amazing education there. Every single person needs to get an MBA from SOU.”

Learn more about SOU’s online MBA in Healthcare Administration program.

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