Business professionals inspire HISD students to think beyond a bachelor’s degree

As high school students across HISD are deciding which college to attend next fall, students at Eastwood Academy are learning that a bachelor’s degree will only take them so far.

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“After I get my bachelor’s degree, I want to get into my career, get work experience for a year, and then go back to school for a master’s degree,” said Eastwood student Mauricio Aguilar.

As part of HISD’s college-readiness initiatives, a group of Eastwood seniors participated in a post-college awareness program called “Beyond the Bachelor’s Degree” on Nov. 13, to learn the value of a graduate degree from 10 business professionals who are members of the Houston chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (Masters of Business Administration).

“Careers are so competitive that having a master’s is so essential to obtaining a job now,” said Eastwood College Access Coordinator Dixie Morales.

The program followed a speed-networking concept, giving students three minutes to talk with each professional about college and career planning.

“A graduate degree is a really valuable degree that will help propel you to the next level of your career,” said Milagro Aguinaga, a senior associate with Hines, an international commercial real estate firm. “It’s important to stay focused, involved, and to do well in your classes as an undergraduate because this will help prepare you for a graduate program.”

The business professionals gave students advice on the importance of understanding what makes them unique, selecting a college major and master’s degree program that fits their interests, managing one’s time, building leadership skills, and finding a mentor who is working in a career they admire.

“This program really inspired me to not give up because there are educational and career opportunities out there for people who look like me,” said Eastwood senior Bellem Banda.