Networking event boosts CSUB’s MBA program

Michael Wafford

Jean West, a business professor at CSUB, chats with other MBA alumni and students at The Padre Hotel. (Abi Khan/The Runner
Jean West, a business professor at CSUB, chats with other MBA alumni and students at The Padre Hotel. (Abi Khan/The Runner

On Jan. 25, 116 students, alumni, and guests from California State University Bakersfield’s Master of business administration program gathered together at The Padre Hotel to get to know about each other and to help work toward their dreams.

Kent Stenderup, 53, entered the program in the fall 2012 quarter. Stenderup is returning to school after graduating from Stanford Univeristy in 1981.

He said he’s adjusted to the program. “It’s more than I ever imagined. I was out of school for 30 years . . . I had always wanted an MBA it just didn’t work out at the time. We raised two wonderful kids and now it’s time to finish the dream.”

“It’s nice to meet the people he goes to school with,” said Patty Stenderup. “Kent runs the family farm 12 hours a day and then he goes to school. He gets home at about midnight and wakes up at 6 a.m. and then goes to work again,” said Patty Stenderup.

An alumnus who has finished the program is Dan Culbertson, 41. He graduated from the MBA program in spring 2012 and said, “I enjoyed the program. I thought it was challenging. I thought the wide range of classes you’re required to attend were very valuable.” Culbertson said.

The program gave a well-rounded perspective of the various aspects of business. It also provided an atmosphere to develop friendships with fellow MBA students.

“I think the program has directly helped me and the company I work for climb the ladder,” said Culbertson. Culbertson works for Aera.

Career advancement is what the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s is interested in. The organization has recently opened a Bakersfield chapter and used the mixer to celebrate the new chapter. In 2012 the chapter gave out over $2,000,000 in scholarships according to Nancy Solis president of the Bakersfield NSHMBA chapter.

The prospect of career advancement drew another to the mixer, Min Su, a CSUB graduate interested in entering the MBA program, said, “when I first began to think about entering the MBA program it was because I was thought it would advance my career. Hopefully it lets me move up in the company.” Su works for Rain for Rent.

The NSHMBA is a national organization which is dedicated to building and advancing Hispanic leadership through education and professional development, according to to NSHMBA’s website.

The organization has over 21,000 members throughout 39 chapters in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Solis said “the organization is open to anyone who wishes to join.”

Anil Kumar, 22, a CSUB graduate who is interested in entering the program, said, “When I was working in the field I noticed the higher ups had master’s degrees and that job openings for higher positions preferred applicants with MBAs.”

Kumar said, the mixer was a great place to network with MBA students and businesses in the Bakersfield area.

Dr. Jean West, director of the MBA program, said the mixer was so popular that they had to stop taking RSVPs for the event, which Dr. west she can not recall happening for past events.

Dr. West said she is happy with the turn out and wants to see CSUB’s MBA program grow while keeping its quality.

According to West, the CSUB MBA program currently has between 125-150 current students.