Photo: Eileen Escarda
Kerstin Sachl of FIU
Florida MBA Programs
International Attraction: Florida's MBA programs have worldwide appeal
MBA degree programs at Florida schools attract students from all over the world who like the diversity at the schools and opportunities to interact with local businesspeople.
Florida International University
When Kerstin Sachl decided to pursue an executive MBA at Florida International University, her goal was to grow her business and leadership skills while she ran her own PR agency.
A native of Nuremburg, Germany, Sachl realized a business-related degree from a major university was essential to furthering her ambitions.
“I looked at MBA programs in the United States, in Europe and in Germany,” Sachl, 45, says. “I just decided to do it in the U.S. because MBA programs here are so much more renowned and recognized throughout the world. In Germany, MBA programs are relatively new.”
“I ended up with FIU because they have a rather non-traditional program that offers a hybrid between in-class sessions and online instruction,” Sachl says.
The program allowed her to continue running her PR firm while she attended classes every second Saturday of the month.
One part of FIU’s MBA program particularly appealed to Sachl — an international exchange program called EMBA Consortium for Global Business Innovation.
The university arranged for Sachl to attend South Africa’s famed Stellenbosch University in Capetown, where she spent two weeks studying with other international MBA students from nine countries.
In one of her Saturday classes at FIU, Sachl, who speaks four languages, met a fellow student and executive with Marriott International. The Marriott executive recognized Sachl’s talents and offered her a job as director of public relations and social media for the Caribbean and Latin America region.
“I did not go into an MBA program to find a job and get back into the corporate world,” says Sachl. “I was quite happy with my little PR agency. But when this opportunity came up unexpectedly with Marriott, it was too good to pass up.”
University of West Florida
Determined to Stay in the U.S.
When Renan Serafim’s dream of becoming a professional soccer player didn’t pan out, the Brazilian native found a home in the U.S. for his athletic skills.
While on athletic scholarship at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky, Serafim was on the team that won an NAIA national men’s soccer championship. He also earned a degree in business management.
After graduation, Serafim, 26, worked at an Ohio newspaper under a program that allows international students to work in the U.S. for a year without obtaining a work visa.
“My main goal is to stay in America,” Serafim says. “After I was unsuccessful in getting a regular work visa, I decided to pursue an MBA, which would make me more marketable in the U.S.”
Serafim entered the University of West Florida’s MBA program last fall, with a concentration on supply-chain management.
The academic environment in his MBA program is highly motivational, he adds.
“When you get around classmates who want to improve their skills and learn, you do better,” Serafim says.