Boeing Internship, Next MBA for Carmen Palencia, Business Graduate After Graduation – UMSL Daily


Carmen Palencia graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA from the College of Business Administration with a BSBA in Management and a certificate from Pierre Laclede Honors College. (Photo courtesy of Carmen Palencia)

Carmen Palencia admits that she is not easily satisfied.

She is always on the lookout for new opportunities and on the lookout for new achievements. This is one of the main reasons why Palencia left her homeland. Colombia for the United States eight years ago.

“Carmen always wants more,” she said recently in a neutral tone.

This weekend was a testament to that dynamism and determination. Palencia, who knew very little English when she arrived in St. Louis and spent years taking ESL courses to prepare for college, graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA from the University of Missouri-St. Louis College of Business Administration with BSBA in Management and a certificate from the Honorary College Pierre Laclede.

“I’m super happy and I feel so accomplished,” said Palencia. “I can’t believe, thinking when I started ESL classes, that I’m going to have my baccalaureate. I am the first person in my family to move to the United States and get this type of degree, so I am very proud. My family is delighted too. It means so much to me.

True to form, she is already working on her next goals. Palencia completed an internship as a financial analyst at The Boeing Company until May 2022 and will start working on her MBA in January at UMSL.

“She just worked really hard and she’s very talented,” said Edward Munn Sanchez, Dean of Honors College, who was one of Palencia’s mentors during her time at UMSL. “You combine that and with her personality and her willingness to go out and get help – she is the classic case of someone who is smart enough to go out for help and take advantage of the opportunities that come their way. This tells you why she is going to be successful.

Palencia grew up in San Pedro Sucre, in the northern part of Colombia, less than 60 miles from the Caribbean Sea. It was a town small enough that she had to go elsewhere to study at university, eventually earning a business degree, but she already had more distant goals.

“I knew the education in America was great, so I said, ‘I want to study there,’ she said.

Palencia was 25 when she moved in 2012, first landing in Michigan, then settling near her aunt and uncle in St. Louis. The degree she got in Colombia wasn’t very helpful in finding a job, so she knew right away that she would have to get a degree in the United States.

But first she had to break the language barrier. She subscribed to ESL courses at St. Louis – Meramec Community College practice speaking and learn to read and write in English.

Palencia went on to earn an associate’s degree with grades strong enough to put her in the running for major scholarships. She applied to several universities in the region.

The UMSL was the only one to have the Community College President’s Bursary, covering the full cost of her tuition and fees for two years and giving her a chance to graduate debt-free. Palencia was also impressed with the dual accreditation of the College of Business Administration of the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Business Schools, so his decision in college was easy.

Palencia received additional financial support from Honors College after enrolling at UMSL and found it to be a great place to learn and grow while further studying management.

“The soft skills I learned through Honors College have been invaluable,” said Palencia. “The classroom only has 15-17 people, so you can communicate, talk, and if you’re shy at the end of the class you won’t be shy because you have to talk even if you don’t want to. . These things have helped me to be better.

Lisa Fikki, Internship Coordinator at the College of Business Administration, also told Palencia about mentorship opportunities, recommending that she apply to be part of the St. Louis Regional Business Council Mentor Network, which pairs students from the region’s 14 universities with an RBC 100 executive, and the Boeing Mentorship Program, which pairs UMSL students with former company executives for a one-year program.

Palencia also found mentors on campus, including Fikki herself, for whom she worked as Intern Next step since last January, and Munn Sanchez.

“We’re both native Spanish speakers so it was really easy to connect,” he said.

Both Fikki and Munn Sanchez encouraged her to apply for the internship at Boeing last spring, despite being in finance and outside of her particular field of study. They helped her polish her resume and Munn Sanchez also worked with her on her interview skills.

“She speaks Spanish very well, so it was just a matter of translating those abilities into English and building her self-confidence,” said Munn Sanchez. “She was worried if her English would be good, so we did a bunch of mock interviews. I went through some questions and then we met and talked about careers.

Palencia was confident and ended up getting the internship, starting work last summer.

Adjusting to a new job during a pandemic presented some challenges. Palencia is a natural extrovert and enjoys working with people in an office, but she has been working remotely like the rest of her colleagues from the start of her internship and has had to find ways to learn and add value to her. team.

Thankfully, Palencia has been willing to ask questions and get the help she needs as she continues to grow in her role.

She expects to change jobs at the start of the new year and recently extended her internship until 2022, giving her a sense of security as she begins working on her MBA. She plans to choose finance as her area of ​​interest.

Palencia worked in Fikki’s office and was president of UMSL Finance Club during her tenure as an undergraduate student. She also helped Munn Sanchez and other members of Honors College develop a recruiting video for Spanish speaking students.

“Carmen is an incredible contributor to the UMSL brand and has a very bright future,” said Fikki. “She is truly an amazing young woman.”

Palencia plans to stay involved after graduation and would like to help mentor other students. She thinks they could learn from her and the way she took the opportunities.

“Some people are afraid to leave something, but if you don’t start, you’ll never get to where you want to be,” Palencia said. “It’s taken me years to be where I am, but I’m here and I’m so excited. Everything was worth it.

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