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Business Graduates

Neslie Christofferson, MBA

What I do now:
As a Business Analyst I oversee business operations for the Vice President of the Federal Health Sector at GDIT in Falls Church, VA. The customers we serve in this sector include the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Department of Health & Human Services, the Defense Health Agency, and the National Institutes of Health.

My work/job consists of:
My job consists of business operations support as well as assessing and implementing organizational process improvements to help our sector win more business. I am also involved in the business development process from tracking contract opportunities, winning strategy design, to proposal writing, and program operations.

Path to my current career position (how I got from the past to the present):
After graduating from LSUS I accepted an internship at CSRA in the finance department working on the relocation and recruitment state incentives that brought CSRA to Louisiana. After finishing my internship, I was hired into a full time position as a Business Process Analyst in the Office of the CIO, where I wrote policy and procedures for the internal IT systems our company uses. In 2018, CSRA was acquired by General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) and my focus shifted to IT policy integration. After 2 years, I transferred within GDIT to my current position and relocated to our headquarters office in Northern Virginia.

How I got to LSUS (or why I chose LSUS):
I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in Business Management and LSUS offered an affordable, high-quality education with flexible class times.

Fond memories of LSUS:
Some of my fondest memories of LSUS were from my last semester in Dr. Meeks' 480 class. Our team took the Capsim business simulation very seriously and won the final presentation challenge! That class brought out the competitive side of me, taught me the importance of working in teams, and helped prepare me for the working world.

LSUS faculty who helped me:
Dr. Felice Williams was one of my favorite instructors. Her Organizational Behavior class is one I think back to often. At first I didn't have much interest in the topic, but she kept me very engaged by sharing her own experiences in the professional world.

How LSUS helped me succeed:
LSUS is a unique school in that it mixes young students with students who are continuing their education. This made our classes diverse in age and work experience, and it helped me translate the theory of what I was learning and see how it actually applied in everyday life through discussion of shared experiences by different students. I didn't just learn from my professors, but I learned from other students as well.

Advice to college-bound students:
Get involved in lots of different activities to find out what you are interested in. Say "yes" to every opportunity you are given, and never burn a bridge.

Advice to someone who wants to enter my field:
When I was at LSUS I never imagined I would end up working for an IT Company, so my advice is to keep your options open and don't limit yourself to one specific path. As a young professional, I think it's important to work for a company that has benefits like education and certification assistance, professional development programs, mentoring options, corporate responsibility programs, and opportunities to get involved with other young professionals. Also, focus on finding a company that has a strong sense of mission and has values that align to your own. If you find a job you enjoy and a company you take pride in working for, it will make going to work every day worthwhile.

Tips on choosing a major or career:
If you are feeling stuck on the decision of what to major in, start by making a list of jobs you know you don't want to do. Once you've narrowed the options, do some research on jobs that interest you and what degree is required to get those jobs. There is a lot to be said for versatile degrees like business. That knowledge and skill set is used in every industry and having a business background will make you very marketable when it comes time to start your job search.

My toughest professional challenge:
My toughest professional challenge was earning my master's degree while I was working. Once I started my career it only increased my desire to continue to learn. In 2017 the opportunity to begin an M.B.A program with a concentration in Information Assurance at Louisiana Tech was presented to me. Because my company provides educational reimbursement, I felt the opportunity was too good to pass up. The program took 2 years to complete, but being able to work as a professional while earning my degree helped me gain so much more from my studies. It was difficult at first to balance working full time and going back to school, but it was well worth a few sleepless nights.

My toughest personal challenge:
Three months after I started my internship, my mother passed away. Trying to rebuild my life without my mom was perhaps, and continues to be, the most challenging thing I will ever face. At 22, as I was just starting my career, there were so many things both personally and professionally I never thought I would be tested with, but focusing on my career helped me move through my grief.

Successes (honors, awards, etc.) in my life:
Leader of GDIT's Young Professionals Employee Group (Since 2016)
Selected for the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organization's (LANO) Community Leaders Program (2018)

I've learned this from life:
This quote found me at a significant time in my life and it has stuck with me through changes for the better, changes that felt impossibly difficult, and changes both in and out of my control. "Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being." - Amy Poehler, Yes Please

What I'd be doing if I had all the time in the world:
Hiking, reading, camping, and exploring this beautiful world with my rescue pup Lily!

 
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