Cinthya La Rosa, BS’11, MBA’20, isn’t afraid of growth. It has driven her personal and professional decisions her whole life, and it’s what brought her to the Kelley School of Business Evening MBA Program.
Cinthya’s the director of administration at the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP), which has experienced tremendous growth itself over the past year – doubling its staff size and soon moving into a new building. That all comes with unique opportunities and challenges for Cinthya, who manages all human resources-related responsibilities as well as grants and compliance functions for the organization.
“As the initiatives grow at CICP, they’re going to need more leaders to support that growth, and new opportunities will emerge. I don’t want to be overlooked for a leadership position simply because I don’t have a graduate degree,” she said. “I waited seven years before returning to school, and I’m thankful my job exposed me to many different responsibilities in that time. Education is key to advancing in my career, but it’s also a personal goal.”
After moving from Peru to the United States with her family when she was 13, Cinthya quickly understood the power of education and hard work. Her parents were diligent workers, and at 15, Cinthya got a job at the airport that required her to get up at 2 a.m. on weekend mornings. This built the foundation of her indelible work ethic. She earned a full scholarship to the Kelley Indianapolis Undergraduate Program, where she attended school full time while working.
“I knew I’d return to Kelley for my MBA – not only because I knew from personal experience how recognized the program is, but also because I could get involved in a way I didn’t have time for the first time around,” she said.
Cinthya is president of the Evening MBA Student Advisory Board (SAB), which feeds her passion for learning, for giving back where she has benefited and for creating connections with other professionals.
“For me, SAB is my platform to network and get to know people, even the professors. I met several Kelley instructors, even before I took their classes, thanks to the events I planned for SAB or the events hosted by Kelley Indianapolis MBA Women’s Association (KIMWA),” she said. “Kelley’s student organizations make the learning experience more personal. I’m more comfortable asking questions in class, and I have a better understanding of how passionate our professors are about teaching us.”
Cinthya says the MBA provided her with a wider and more managerial view of business than she gained during her undergraduate degree. Combined with her professional years of experience, she says the Evening MBA equipped her to be a leader within her organization because she’s gained a greater understanding of areas outside of her job description.
“I’m not involved in marketing, but down the road as a leader, I will need to understand all aspects of business,” she said. “There’s a lot of classroom discussion about real-life cases where there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer. The open discussion makes you think critically about the various ways to approach a problem. It’s your chance to think through issues strategically before it’s your job to solve them.”
The course lessons are hands-on, inspiring MBA students to think critically about current, relevant issues. Cinthya says she is able to directly apply what she learns to her job at CICP.
“The other day we had a meeting about our 401k financing options. I remembered my economics course, and I understood what was going on,” she said. “You see things through different eyes after being exposed to concepts you might not have fully grasped before the MBA. Now, you’ve worked through a case about it; you’ve discussed it, and you’re starting to think and analyze it differently.”
Part of that new approach, Cinthya says, is learning from other students. The Evening MBA cohort represents a diverse group of professionals from various industries and experiences. Kelley MBAs spend the first year taking core classes together before they begin electives later in the program. Cinthya – whose cohort is particularly tight-knit – says her fellow MBAs have been crucial to her education and growth.
“My cohort is a platform to get to know my village. We have to complete a lot of challenging projects, and we push each other and hold each other accountable for everyone’s success. We lean on one another,” she said. “The Evening MBA cohort is made up of people who want to build personal relationships. We have similar interests, so we hang out outside of class, even traveling together.”
“I really push those relationships – even with homework. We have a Facebook group, and I remind them of what’s due in class. That accountability helps us all get to the finish line.”
Cinthya says the support she received from faculty and staff at the Kelley School was also vital because everyone seemed dedicated to her success; partners in her journey toward earning an MBA.
“One thing I really love about the program is the guidance it offers from staff members like Program Director Mary Johnson, Assistant Director of Recruiting and Admissions Becky Schlomann and Administrative Recorder Janelle Cissell,” said Cinthya. “They’re all very dedicated people who want you to succeed, and they push you to the next level.”
In fact, much of the learning during the Evening MBA Program happens beyond the coursework. One of the early experiences in the program is a weekend management simulation in which MBA students take on an executive role at a simulated corporation and work through a business challenge together. Afterward, each student receives constructive feedback from faculty and peers.
“I was told I need to learn how to let things go and delegate more. That’s true. As you climb the ladder, you have to rely on the people working alongside you to take ownership,” said Cinthya. “Not only does this free up your time to do more strategic things, but it allows your team to grow. It’s something I’d heard before from my boss, but I needed to hear it again from an outside perspective – from people who didn’t know me and in a setting where I felt equipped to do something about it.”
While growth and education have always been the foundation of Cinthya’s drive, she says she’s also propelled toward her goals by parents who gave everything for her to succeed. As an HR professional, but also as a Latina, Cinthya feels the Kelley MBA sets her apart as an experienced and well-rounded candidate.
“Pursuing this MBA was the first selfish thing I’ve done for myself. I’ve wanted it for so long,” she said. “I waited, and I think now’s the perfect time. Now is the time for women to succeed, and people are noticing. They’re promoting women to leadership roles. More women are interested in pursuing a higher education and becoming leaders through this program. That’s an amazing movement, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.”