While MBA student Stephanie Moya is immersing herself in the coursework, class projects, and community service that make up her master’s experience, she’s also focused on one of the issues that matters to her most: Supporting first-generation Mexican American students, especially women, like herself.
“It is essential to motivate students, particularly Latina, who are underrepresented in MBA programs, and show them it is possible to pursue higher education,” says Moya, whose hometown is Corona, California. “It is crucial to pave the way for future generations who will be first in their families to earn a master’s degree.”
When she applied, Moya was attracted to the diversity within the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management (AGSM) MBA program, she says. “I was inspired because if someone with a background similar to mine can pursue an MBA degree, so can I.”
Choosing a master’s in business
When Moya was accepted to the MBA program, she was excited, and then she was worried; she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at UCR in 2021 and planned to attend law school. “But when I graduated, I realized I wanted to work for a tech company,” she says. So, she pivoted to the MBA program.
“At first, I was afraid—I had not taken any business courses during my undergraduate years,” she says. “Of course, it was a huge transition, and fortunately, I immediately made new friends who were also first-year MBA students with no business background, and I was a part of a community of ambitious people.”
Because UCR MBA students take the same or similar courses, she adds, “it is very easy to make long-term friends who support you through the journey. When I have struggled with a topic, my peers have helped me through. The alumni also care about everyone’s success, and it is encouraging to have a support system academically, mentally, and professionally.”
Moya serves as an AGSM graduate student ambassador, and within that role, she reaches out to other first-generation master’s students. “We host student panels to answer any questions incoming students might have about the program,” she says. “I can help others as an ambassador because I understand the doubts they may have as first-generation students.”
Aligning goals personally and professionally
Looking ahead, Moya has a clear vision: a position as a program manager at Google or Meta. “This aligns with my long-term goals. I want to gain a deeper understanding of the market, competition, and user requirements. I want to be responsible for helping launch new products and features while testing their performance.
“I would like to be part of a team working collaboratively with other departments creating the best products.”
With this in mind, her concern and support for Latinas in business will continue. “Where there is a more diverse, inclusive workforce, there is a greater understanding of the wants and needs of customers, which increases innovation and productivity,” she says. “More ideas will prosper, and that will make the world a better place.”