We spoke to Lesia Gates who took an MBA abroad.
Q: Tell us about yourself and your MBA?
A: I grew up in a small rural town in the south western part of Virginia in the United States. I owned a private personal training studio there where I helped individuals in the age ranges of 18-86 become more healthy and fit. While having my business, I could see that I needed to learn more about the psychological aspects of helping others improve their health. This lead to my closing of my business in order to go back to school and study psychology. I gained a bachelor’s degree majoring in psychology and minoring in business from Tarleton State University in Texas. I then earned a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology from Texas A&M University-Central Texas. After looking into the programs that were offered in Health Psychology in the UK, I decided to become an International Student in the UK to study Health Psychology.
Before the MBA, I was at University of Stirling studying a taught masters for health psychology. My original plan for coming to the UK was to become a Chartered Health Psychologist. This required that I first have an MSc Health Psychology degree before going on to the PhD Health Psychology. I was so busy throughout the year with the program that I did not put in for the PhD early enough so at the end I was not sure what to do. Since I had previously owned a business, I thought I would look into the MBA program. I have always known that I would like to have a business again someday.
Upon being selected for the MBA course at University of Stirling, and after securing the Santander Scholarship for International Students, I found the course to be very interesting. As part of a small MBA group of students, we had quickly become very close with only 13 students that were in the program. We worked quite often doing group projects and this was challenging because of the variety of different cultural and language speaking backgrounds in our class. This taught me how important it is to have effective communication and leadership skills. In addition, being able to recognize individual strengths and weaknesses from within a group in order to utilize these roles for the benefit of the project. Another important part of the MBA was learning how to use personal reflection to improve my personal and professional development. Taking the MBA was worthwhile because it has opened up more career opportunities for me. It has expanded more areas of research for me that allows me to combine my interests in health psychology and health promotion with business.
Q: What are you future aspirations?
A: My current career aspirations are that I am looking into finding a PhD program and hopefully secure funding to do research that combines my love for both business and psychology in the area of health promotion. I would still like to become a Chartered Health Psychologist and I still plan to have a business again. I am now interested in doing research in the area of occupational health. My interest lies specifically in the behavioral aspects of helping individuals gain motivation to exercise for improving health. This connects with business in promoting workplace wellness and on-site interventions for both individual and organizational behaviour change in order to improve employee’s work engagement and an organization’s productivity. As a professor I would like to teach health psychology for health promotion and leadership skills for business management.
More information on studying for your MBA abroad.