Begin with the End in Mind

Begin with the End in Mind:

Kary Alicea’s Story with ANU

As a people person, current Master of Business Administration student and American National University employee, Kary Alicea, knew she wanted to meet as many people as she could to help them grow. In her role, she gets to meet with students and help them with questions they may have from their classes, the technology in their classes, or with other departments like financial aid. In her passion for helping others, Kary began her Master of Business Administration program to further her skills so she can reach more people. And in her dedication, she was named by her professors as MBA Student of the Term for term 233!

Kary has a background in criminal justice, but learned quickly that the career she envisioned was not made for her. However, at that time, she was volunteering for every organization her kids were involved in to help people in every venture. She learned quickly that those in leadership positions were great at doing jobs, but not great when it came to working with other people. She chose to enter ANU’s MBA program so that she could enter a leadership role with all the skills she needed to succeed at not only the job but leading a team. “Leadership is valuable and it’s imperative that you have someone who knows how to foster those connections so that you are relatable as an organization,” she describes:

“The more I can put work into supporting my academic advisors, the better they can support their students, the better the students can see [ANU] cares.”

The information that Kary is learning in her classes has already had a positive impact on the work she does within her job and in her volunteer efforts. “It’s helped me approach that people aspect,” she says of her volunteering, “I say ‘okay, this organization is not doing so well – what are some things that I’ve learned in class that I can success that can lead to a more positive change in them?’” Along with that, Kary says she deals with what every other ANU student wrestles with – a full schedule between work, taking care of a home and children, and her classwork.

“I have kids, a full-time job, and I’m tired… sometimes I’m waiting in the DMV line and reading my eBook – I just have to squeeze it in where I can.”

However, she remains a positive outlook because of the support system she has, her support from her family, and a philosophy that keeps her going, “begin with the end in mind.”

Kary has learned something from every instructor she has had at ANU. One that stands out the most to her is Dr. Steven Stoddard. In his classes, he “broke down a level of APA-citation that I think he needs to do a master’s class!” She laughs. “He broke it down to such a basic understanding that it wasn’t something I [originally] struggled with, but I still learned so much,” she says, “It was powerful enough that when I post week one now, all my teachers are like ‘your APA-citation is on point!'” Kary said working with Dr. Stoddard taught her a lot and he reinforced all of what she is passionate about in her career and in her life. The support isn’t in just one professor, “all of my instructors are so supportive, very positive, and helpful. They’re very much just like ‘just text or call me!’” Her education doesn’t just come from professors and instructors, but her classmates as well. She’s been able to get close to a few of her peers and learn from their perspectives as they collaborate together.

Kary with her partner and children

“I can look back and go ‘I learned so much!’ from my instructors and my peers… The connections that you make here are real.”


Her future goals are flexible because of her belief that life can take you anywhere. “I believe you just have to have faith that you’ll be in the right place at the right time. Goal wise, [after I finish my MBA], I know I want to be in a place where I lead a team and being in a position to make a positive difference in people’s lives.” She wants to work to have a trickle-down effect of kindness and a caring environment.

Kary recommends ANU to all students who are self-motivated, driven, and can think long-term. “ANU is the place for students who want it bad, they are willing to claw for it!”

For new students starting at ANU, she advises people to care about themselves to get what they want. She advises students to give their best, even if their best isn’t their greatest some days. “Sometimes you’re not going to feel like it, and that’s okay, because ANU is flexible in that way, too. Sometimes a C is okay. It’s okay, just keep the faith in yourself, and that you have the end in mind. Before you know it, you’ll make it there.”

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