Alumni Spotlight - October 2015: Ann-marie Christie
School of Business and Entrepreneurial Studies
What programme did you pursue at Excelsior Community College and when?
I pursued a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business (Marketing) from 2009 through to 2014.
Why did you choose your programme of study at ECC?
I knew I wanted to do business as I started it in high school. I am also an entrepreneur….Party and Events Planner…. always trying my hand at anything and everything possible that can be sold (I would say that I am very good at sales and marketing). I was introduced to Excelsior Community College by a former co-worker who also attended the College. It was also very convenient and affordable to me, as I worked just a few miles down the road from the College.
What is most memorable to you about the programme?
I would have to say my many accomplishments during my studies and the support from my lecturers and classmates. The most outstanding of them all was when our group organized and hosted our Marketing Seminar. It was a lot of work but I was extremely proud of my team and how we pulled it off. From the launching of the event to the final vote of thanks. I was overwhelmed to see how we put our differences aside (and mind you the differences were many….. personality clashes etc.) but in the end I was elated to see that it all came together and was a tremendous success.
What are you currently doing career-wise?
I am currently employed to the Jamaica Constabulary Force as a Sergeant of Police. I got promoted twice while studying at ECC.
Having completed my programme I was given the task of Events Coordinator, PR Officer for my division and also head of the Mentorship Programme for young officers in the division. I am the Secretary for the Kiwanis Club of West St. Andrew and also the Assistant Chairperson for the fundraising committee.
How do you think the programme helped in advancing your career?
The programme has helped me personally as well as in my professional life. Since completing the programme, my ability as a sales person has been enhanced and I am now able to do what I love and that is “selling”….smile. I am also better able to manage human resources in order to make performance more efficient. The public relations and human resource management aspect of my programme is being utilized the most these days.
In what way, if any, would you like to see the programme change or grow?
I would love for more people to be made aware that Excelsior Community College does offer this programme and that it is just as good as the UWI and UTech’s etc (if not better). I am doing my part in selling the brand ECC to all persons who have express an interest in attaining tertiary level education. I am proud to say that a number of my coworkers are presently pursuing courses there on my advice.
I would also love to see a more hands on approach in presenting the programme not only at ECC, but in all media to prospective College and University students. I would like to see changes with respect to students who are pursuing particular courses, for example marketing. These students should be sent to firms in the respective area of study where they can actually practice the dynamics of marketing in completing their practicum. This will help students who are not yet exposed to the working world to have better knowledge of what exactly is expected of them based on their field of study.
What challenges did you have during the programme and how did you overcome them?
Too many to tell. My challenges were not unique (to me).
I had financial challenges like most people who are pursuing tertiary level education. I did not have the luxury of having parents who could afford tertiary level education for their child and so I had to work and borrow money from financial institutions as well as saving through partners and with some assistance from my spouse. I decided that I would not go through the Student Loan Bureau (SLB) to complete my studies, so these were my only other alternatives.
I had job related challenges: I was a full time student with a full time job. It is very difficult to work and study. I slept on metal chairs many nights in a bid to balance work and school. I was reported to my supervisors on many occasions for leaving work to attend classes without being properly relieved, but I did what I had to do, to ensure my success. I underwent extreme pressure from senior officers because they thought I was not giving enough of my time to the job owing to the fact that I was a sub-officer. I cried many times, missed many classes, a few internal exams as well, but I persevered and being the strong and determined person that I am, I overcame those hurdles.
Being an adult in a teenage populated class;
How was this challenging you might ask? It was challenging initially as it was evident that there were different levels of maturity due the age difference I guess. I was paying my way through college and so I could not afford to fail, so every assignment had to be done on time because I didn’t have much of either time or money. I believed in getting the highest grade in my class at all times, so as many A’s as was possible was my aim. While other students would settle for a mere pass, that was never good enough for me; I am a competitor at heart.
What advice would you give to current students in the programme?
Do not do the programme because you want a degree or because it is classified as the easiest of them all. Do it because it is one that you have a passion for. Ensure that this programme is going to take you where you want to go. Stay focused on your goals; never lose sight of what is important in completing the programme, which is your personal and professional development. Your proudest moment is yet to come and that is the day you put on that gown and walk onto the podium, look down in the audience and hold on to that certificate. Then you’ll get to tell yourself that I DID IT…………………
Any final thoughts?
I will never forget the lecturers at ECC; they have molded me into becoming an awesome individual. They have also helped in shaping my career path…….. Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Minott, Mrs. McDowell, Mrs. Dowe, Mr. Rookwood, Mr. Boreland, Mr. Forrest and all the others who have played a part in my development. I SALUTE YOU ALL and the entire ECC family.