‘Do it scared’: How an IT programmer and author rewrote her approach to grad school

Marcy Bursac

Online Master’s in Business Administration, 2021

If IT programmer Marcy Bursac’s resume were a line of code, it would create the model professional: traditionally educated and service-oriented, with the latest certifications in her field.

For Marcy, who is also an adoption advocate and author, her past and current roles have offered opportunities to further her education. This has guided her to constantly learn new things, especially during career changes.

“I’d gone from being a philanthropy executive to programming, but had worked extensively in the nonprofit world and already possessed a master’s degree in philanthropy,” Marcy says. “I knew enough about working with the community, but I didn’t know much about the inner workings of business or the vernacular of the corporate world.”

Enter Maryville University, which Marcy had first encountered in high school when she audited a class with her older sibling — who was an undergraduate at the time. But now, as a working adult with a family and other ventures, she knew she needed a few accommodations if she was going to be successful as a graduate student.

“I definitely wanted to take an online program because I’m a mom — I didn’t want to be away from my kids for too long,” she says. “I also wanted to know if the degree would fit my budget for the calendar year.”

“Maryville stood out immediately. I knew some of the teachers and that there was a high degree of flexibility involved.”

Marcy had unique needs — and Maryville’s online Master of Business Administration seemed to align with them. It was then the busy mother, writer, and professional made a brave decision: She’d go back to school on her own terms, with the help of her employer’s education benefit. She created a spreadsheet, then mapped out a five-year plan to complete her degree at Maryville with enough flexibility to attend classes only in the spring.

I loved the flexibility and versatility with Maryville to spread out my course load over time. I could do my coursework any time, any place. I liked that I didn’t have to rush to complete my degree in 18 to 24 months. I didn’t have to strive — I could breathe.

Marcy Bursac family

Marcy Bursac hugging family

Connecting all the pieces — and positively impacting her organization

Maryville’s online MBA program helped Marcy make critical connections in understanding the greater business sphere, but she had to overcome her reservations about being able to handle the program first.

“Before I started the online MBA I’d ask myself, ‘Can I do this?’” Marcy says. “Can I do this mentally? With my schedule? Can I sit in a room with people who already understand business and be successful?”

After some self-reflection and advice from her Maryville alum sibling and a mentor, Marcy realized her access to learning and willingness to get an education outweighed her concerns.

Marcy, who helps optimize financial operations for her company, Spectrum, also found her learning to be directly transferable. “It’s been great to infuse my studies into my daily role,” she says. “I’ve learned niche strategies that I’ve used to help my organization make more informed decisions, all because I’m able to leverage my learning in real time.”

One of those niche strategies was to get a pulse on the company culture by pitching an anonymous survey — which was well received by Spectrum’s employees and executives.

“My supervisor encouraged me to share more of what I learned, saying that it was helping everyone else to grow,” she says.

Furthermore, Marcy enjoyed the conversations taking place in her online MBA classroom. “We get to talk about things that I’d never get the opportunity to discuss otherwise,” she says. “The diverse thought brought to the online classroom was a huge win for me.”

Maryville has helped me to be more articulate and understanding of the bigger business ecosystem that I’m operating in within my organization.

‘There’s no failure — you’ll only learn more about yourself’

Through her Maryville experience thus far, Marcy has also learned the value of forgoing perfection to be more efficient — something she has even brought back to her book writing.

“If we recognize there’s ways to learn and share, there’s a lot to be gained — in life, hobbies, our skill sets, and personal relationships,” says Marcy. “I care about people and I’m also in the business world. I look forward to taking what I’ve learned and paying it forward further to help people feel more encouraged at work.”

Marcy, who hasn’t ruled out even more education or a second book in her future, also has a mantra for facing down one’s fears to accomplish a goal:

“Do it scared,” she says. “Sometimes you have to just do something — you can’t wait on other people to do it for you. No one will ever hand you the perfect career. You have to go get it and advocate for yourself. Even if you don’t know what you want, you can try it and experiment. There’s no failure — you’ll only learn more about yourself.”

If you’re ready to see how Maryville Online can help you be brave and pursue your educational and professional goals, we’re here for you. Check out our online bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and doctorate degrees, or schedule a call with an advisor today.

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