Madeleine Bossou has the Midas touch.
After she enrolled in the Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management online program at Fitchburg State University, she became the first recipient of the Academic Partnerships Joseph McAloon Memorial Scholarship.
The scholarship, which covers total tuition cost for the MBA program for a selected student, is named for a beloved business professor who taught at the university for over 35 years before his passing in 2019. McAloon developed and ran the online MBA program for the university and also served as faculty president, department chair, MBA director and union president. One of Fitchburg State’s technology partners, Academic Partnerships, funded the award in honor of the late professor.
“I am overwhelmed,” Bossou said. “You should have seen me the day I received the call from the Graduate and Continuing Education Dean about being the recipient of the scholarship. I was emotional.
“All my co-workers were wondering what was happening. I told them, ‘I just won a scholarship, it is awesome, and I am so proud. This scholarship is the answer to my prayer that I can finish my school debt-free. I do not have any reason not to get it done anymore.”
Bossou, who moved to the United States in 2001 from Togo, West Africa, a French speaking country, is a clinical lead at Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center satellite unit in Boston. She enrolled in the master’s degree program after her former manager, Jane Crone, recommended her for the clinical lead position that will eventually lead her to managerial position in the geriatric ward.
“She said, ‘The only requirement to make this a manager position for you is to sign up for a master’s degree program, then the job is yours.’ I told her, ‘I don’t think that I am ready to do that yet.’ Mrs. Crone said, ‘You have demonstrated in so many occasions some leadership skills and there is no doubt you will do well. Go for it.’ All of the doctors and my co-workers were also encouraging me to consider the manager position. That is when I decided to shop for universities.”
Bossou can attend school and still work full time while raising a family because of the flexibility of the online format at Fitchburg State. She and her husband, Dovi, have three children — Curtis (20), Mariejo (16) and Caleb (10).
“It’s really manageable with my schedule,” she said. “As a clinical lead, you know the start of your shift, but you never know when you will be ending your shift. Even with that challenge, I still can get my school work done. Sometimes, I get home, pick up the kids from their different activities, cook dinner and still fit my school work in my schedule. Since my daily routine varies, I planned to do most of the work in the beginning of the week so that I do not struggle by the end of the week.”
Bossou developed an interest in a healthcare career while employed as a secretary for Saint Elizabeth’s Medical Center for nearly four years.
“Working with the doctors and the nurses, I felt like I could be a good fit and do more in direct patient care than being an ancillary staff,” she said. “I decided to get into a nursing program, I started and finished it followed by NCLEX a month after, I love it. I love people and always want to help. With a management education, I can make a positive change in a healthcare industry.”
There wasn’t any downtime from school for Bossou, who enrolled in the online MBA in Healthcare Management program shortly after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Labouré College. She also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2008 and an associate degree in business administration and finance from Quincy College four years earlier.
“I didn’t know about Fitchburg State until I was shopping for schools,” she said. “When it popped up on my screen, I saw that tuition was $12,510 for an MBA program. I didn’t think it was real. I said, ‘Let me give them a call to see if they have a good program for me.’
“I called one of the counselors, who got back to me right away and asked what I was looking for. I told him, and he said, ‘We can work with you.’ I said, ‘Are you sure about the tuition you put online?’ He said, ‘Yes, we’re sure about it.’ I told them I wanted to start right away.”
Although Bossou has completed just two courses in the online MBA program, she is already reaping the benefits of the information she has gained so far. MGMT 9040: Organizational Behavior and Development was particularly helpful.
“It showed me all of the information I need and what I needed to focus on in my clinical lead role; also, I learned how to organize, lead and manage to create an organizational citizenship behavior and listening skills for better decisions making,” she said.
“I told my doctor, ‘I am so glad that I am not in the position yet, because I am learning new skills that will help me improve the community.'”
Chasing the Karat
Although Bossou is in the early stages of the MBA program, she has already realized the biggest key to success.
“In an online program, you have to discipline yourself,” she said. “Time management is a big thing in any online program. If you can’t manage your time and get the work done, it will affect you.
“You have to do the assignments and the discussion boards. If you do it early, you won’t be behind at the end of the week. I do my work ahead of time, so if I miss something the professor can tell me about it early.”
Bossou, who said she returns to West Africa to visit family each year, plans to continue taking two courses per semester to expedite her graduation. She hopes to complete the program in December 2020 and then transition into the full-time managerial role.
“My family and friends are excited for me,” she said. “They don’t know how I can do it with kids and a family. I told them it’s doable. Nowadays, it is easy to advance your career with online classes. The professors teaching the classes do not require you to log on at a specific time. Do your work as assigned by the deadline and get in touch with your professors anytime with questions and answers.”
Once graduation day arrives, Bossou looks forward to making the short trip to Fitchburg State to walk in the commencement ceremony. Then, she will officially be the first Academic Partnerships Joseph McAloon Memorial Scholarship graduate.
“Of course, I will be there,” she said. “That’s another reason I chose Fitchburg State — you don’t have to get a hotel and drive a long way for graduation. You just pack up the car.
“I also want to motivate my children through this milestone. To family, friends and others who are struggling to start, go to Fitchburg for a quick admission and low tuition graduate education. Your dream can come true any time in your life.”
Learn more about the Fitchburg State online MBA in Healthcare Management program.