Strategic consultant – and Fulbright scholar – Erica Boden says attending graduate school at The University of Alabama prepared her for life after graduation. She recently shared her journey through graduate school and the Fulbright experience.
Why did you choose to attend The University of Alabama’s Graduate School?
I actually began graduate school through the University Scholars program. I began graduate classes when I was a junior at Alabama. I decided on Alabama, because it allowed me to earn a more advanced degree and to experience a more challenging curriculum at a younger age. I felt a master’s degree in finance would make me a better candidate in the workforce.
How did UA prepare you for a successful career?
Graduate school gave me a lot of opportunities for exposure to the world outside the university setting. Alabama prepared me, through dual degrees and advanced classes, for working through harder problems. I’m able to tackle those challenges because I had the exposure of jumping into things early.
How did the Graduate School’s faculty and staff help?
I had a couple of professors that really worked to know us. The business and finance fields are broad, so they really tried to understand where we wanted to go. They were accommodating and understanding of student life. If you went in to meet with them, they were very accessible and really helped us feel confident.
What was your Fulbright experience like?
Being a Fulbright Scholar was a huge honor. I lived in Bulgaria and taught 8th-12th grade English. A ton of my experiences came from what I learned in graduate school: my business degree was super-applicable, because I had to present and be professional. I taught about 300 students and was able to travel to over 20 countries and even ran a couple of marathons. It was an awesome year.
What other opportunities did you enjoy during your time as a graduate student?
The ability to receive a really good education while being involved on campus and having a life was important to me. The University does a great job of encouraging you to work hard but also have a life. I was able to mentor young girls at Tuscaloosa County High, and I coached a cross-country team for a bit. My advisors were always very helpful and grounding. Whether it was Honors College, Greek Life or enjoying a football game – all were enriching.
Why should a prospective student choose UA’s Graduate School?
I would recommend attending graduate school at UA, because it sets you up to handle yourself in a variety of different scenarios. As a Fulbright Scholar, and now as a consultant, different skills have been very transferable.
You’re put in situations where you can learn to become comfortable in uncomfortable scenarios. Graduate school builds a foundation where you have a reputable degree and a resilient backbone to take that with you.
The University of Alabama, the state’s oldest and largest public institution of higher education, is a student-centered research university that draws the best and brightest to an academic community committed to providing a premier undergraduate and graduate education. UA is dedicated to achieving excellence in scholarship, collaboration and intellectual engagement; providing public outreach and service to the state of Alabama and the nation; and nurturing a campus environment that fosters collegiality, respect and inclusivity.