Jennifer Valle Prepares for Future Career Endeavors in Online MBA Program

Working with communities and healthcare systems that advocate for disenfranchised populations hits home every day for Jennifer Valle.

“I easily could have been one of my clients,” she said. “I did not grow up privileged, and the surrounding environments were not the best. My mother was a single mother of three.

“If it wasn’t for her and my family’s strong work and moral values, as well as the push for education, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

That desire to help others led Valle to enroll in the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Healthcare Management program at Fitchburg State University. She is on track to complete the program in the fall 2023.
In Providence, Rhode Island, Valle works for a non-profit agency that provides veteran services and coordinates with the Veterans Affairs and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help veterans and their families when they have fallen on hard times.

“There is a stereotype about displaced individuals and families,” she said. “However, these are individuals who work, have degrees and have never sought VA benefits or services because they never had to.

“It’s important to mention this to spread awareness of what displacement looks like and how it can happen to anyone — especially during this housing crisis.”

Earning an online degree was important to Valle, who had good reason to look into attending Fitchburg State.

“It all came down to affordability and the school having a good reputation,” she said. “I know students from my high school who graduated from Fitchburg State and are doing well professionally. I love the flexibility of the program, as well as the student body diversity.”

Gaining Perspective

Valle was born in Puerto Rico, where most of her family still resides. She grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts, and she fell into her profession after working for non-profit organizations in high school.

“Helping others is my passion,” she said. “It gives me a purpose. I want to continue in healthcare.”

After graduating Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Psychology from Worcester State University in 2012, Valle is excited to be back in higher education at Fitchburg State.

“I wanted to earn a master’s degree for professional growth,” she said. “My background in healthcare and community settings gives me a unique perspective into healthcare services and clients, which can be beneficial in many healthcare roles.

“The online format is working well with my schedule. It allows me to work full time while I pursue my goals.”

So far, Accounting Practices for Managers and Organizational Behavior and Development are Valle’s two favorite courses in the online MBA in Healthcare Management program.

“I have a social work perspective, so learning more about the business side of healthcare systems and how they operate has helped me understand organizations better.”

The MBA program has given Valle additional value while she has struggled with an undiagnosed and untreated medical condition over the last four years.

“I’ve learned a lot and incorporated it into my professional life, as well as my personal life,” she said. “This has helped me understand the healthcare process — even as a consumer with the barriers I have faced.”

Next Level

There is an even bigger reason that Valle wanted to earn an MBA in Healthcare Management. She and her fiancée, a licensed social worker, hope to open a practice someday.

“She is great at what she does, and with both our knowledge and skills, we can help people,” she said. “She recently applied for independent licensing, which she needs to open a practice in Rhode Island.

“I also enrolled in the MBA program to see the business end of how to run a practice. We want to share our skills to see if we can get something going in the future.”

Valle is the first person in her immediate family to earn a college degree. She plans to celebrate earning a master’s degree by walking the stage at the commencement ceremony next year.

“I would like my father, Ivan, to come from Puerto Rico,” she said. “He is petrified of airplanes and has only flown for my high school and college graduation. I am looking for another excuse for him to visit.”

Although the decision to return to college did not come easy for Valle, she is happy to have a strong support system with her family and friends. In the last couple of years, she and her fiancée bought a house and visited Italy.

“I didn’t tell anyone about [the program] until I enrolled,” she said. “I struggled with the decision. However, I have a very supportive partner who didn’t push me and instead encouraged me enough to build confidence to go back.

“Once I was in the program…basically the response I got was ‘It’s about time.’ They knew that I’ve always wanted to further my education and that I am a good student. They were happy that I was finally able to go back.”

With so many new adventures on the horizon, Valle is eager to continue learning in the program so that she can continue to help the people who need it most while enhancing her education.

“The MBA opens up new avenues in the healthcare industry and maybe the Veterans Affairs system, which requires MBA degrees for almost all positions,” she said. “You miss every shot that you don’t take. I wish I had the means to have done it sooner.

“Experiencing other cultures and seeing the world motivates me more to finish my degree and live by the motto that Europeans live by: Work to live, not live to work.”

Learn more about Fitchburg State’s online MBA in Healthcare Management program.

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