Celebrating our Fall 2023 Extended Education graduates
Nearly 200 students complete intensive program packages or part-time programs
For Laura Marquez, completing the Applied Business Management program package with Extended Education was a good step towards a new life.
“This Management and Administration certificate will make a difference. Taking a program in English from a recognized university shows commitment and opens doors,” says the graduate from Columbia.
On Oct. 23, Extended Education celebrated our Fall 2023 Intensive Program Package Graduation recognizing 112 students including Marquez who completed these packages. We also congratulate our additional 83 Fall 2023 graduates from our part-time programs.
Marquez had two bachelor’s degrees, in economics and in business, and experience as a sales coordinator and sales administrator before she started her studies at UM. She found a similar role in her current job at Pattison Outdoor.
“I love it. I am a quick learner. I have worked in a sales-driven environment. I have the skills to perform well. The culture and way of doing business here is similar.”
She says completing her program while she worked was a big accomplishment. “It was a pretty good thing to study, to apply my knowledge in Canada and make a smooth transition.”
She appreciated the tools her program gave her including a pronunciation clinic and writing and grammar workshops. “It can be challenging to think and express yourself in a proper way in a new language.”
And when she was about to say goodbye to her classmates by hugging and kissing them, as people warmly greet and say goodbye to each other in her native Columbia, some asked what she was doing.
“Personal space is more respected here. Especially after COVID. It is an unspoken rule,” says Marquez, who celebrated her graduation with her husband, Camilo, with plans to go out to dinner with his family afterwards.
Some of her fellow graduates were also from Columbia, and they will keep in touch, to share their common experience of things that differ compared to how they are done in Canada. For example, in Columbia, there is no Thanksgiving. They have Little Candles Day and Novena celebrations leading up to Christmas and they are a big deal in the offices.
“It is a time to feel homesick, so it helps to have them around,” she says.
Oluwapelumi Oyekunle, Applied Business Analysis
When Oluwapelumi Oyekunle was considering taking her career in a new direction by studying Business Analysis at UM, her friends asked her why she would not simply stick with what she knows. After all, with her accounting degree, she was good at numbers.
“No one understood,” says the Applied Business Analysis program package graduate. “But I am so excited about it. I feel like I have accomplished something different. When you set your mind to something, there is nothing you can’t achieve. Push your dreams. Do what you like to do. Just do it. Don’t wait.”
Oyekunle had been working for a global financial company back home in Nigeria when she found herself leading the introduction of a software system. “I was sort of doing business analysis. But I was not used to the terms. I was lost.”
Then she started her program.
“Now I have the terminology and I know when to use it. This program introduced me to lots of people from all over the world. It gave me this confidence. I am so grateful for this experience.”
Currently, she is working at Assiniboine Credit Union, and working on her BA certifications.
“I definitely want to go into business analysis. I like numbers but I also like people. I like to talk. I want to find solutions.”
Celebrating graduation with her will be her mom’s friend and her husband. Oyekunle stayed with them when she first came to Winnipeg. “They have been my biggest support system.”
She has also recommended her program to her boyfriend, in Nigeria.
Daiane Waldrich Barbosa, Applied Human Resource Management
Daiane Waldrich Barbosa didn’t want to take another business course. After all, she had two university diplomas in business and related work experience in her native Brazil.
“I was trying to find something different. I had been working in banks. I had my own consulting company. But I was missing something, the people aspect. I am totally sure I took the right course,” says the Applied Human Resource Management program package grad.
“I learned lots about people and behaviour in the work environment. Here, people are more interested in the soft skills. Here is more respectful. Training and development were the most interesting to me. I learned how to develop people and make things better for them.”
Now she is working at RBC Dominion Securities, in the Operations department.
“I understand employment standards because of the program. It helped me to know how to behave here. It was an intense experience, but it was definitely worth it. It was so rewarding to get to the end and think, I made it. I really made it.”
Her husband, Cleber Barbosa, will celebrate graduation with her. “He was super supportive while I studied and worked full-time. He suffered everything with me.”
Graduation is a special milestone, she says. “No one in my family has experienced anything like this. My parents are very proud. This was something I was dreaming of a few years ago. You just need to believe and dream about it and things will work out for you.”
Waldrich Barbosa plans to keep learning.
“I am not sure of my next steps. Maybe financial certifications, or another course. I believe we can never stop learning. We have to keep updating ourselves.”