From tour guide to a Master of Business Administration, Maria Gabriela “Gaby” Anes Draegert found new opportunities through her education at American National University. While attending one of our English as a second language (ESL) partner schools, the pandemic happened and changed her plans, which ultimately led her into earning her MBA. Gaby graduated recently in our 2022 ceremony and has plans to move forward with new insights to her career that she found while attending ANU.
After coming to the U.S. to enhance her English skills as a tour guide in her native Margarita Island, Venezuela, Gaby heard a presentation from one of our international admissions representatives, Amina Ochirbat. “I liked everything she said about ANU, the program, the facility,” Gaby remarks, amazed, “everything she was saying, I was like ‘what?’ This was the place for me.” Finding a school that helped students through the whole process of enrolling was important to her, and she found that while speaking to the representatives at ANU. “All my process has been so smooth, has been so marvelous… I felt, all the time, that a team that was always there supporting,” she recalls. “They were always there, and that is something that has no price.”
While attending ANU, Gaby had Curricular Practical Training (CPT), which she described as a “game-changer.” While in her CPT, she discovered new skills she didn’t even know she had, “I found a new path to follow in my professional career…and the only way I could have found that was through ANU and CPT.” Because of her CPT, Gaby now has a focus for her career and MBA that she did not have before, and clarity for her future that her education afforded her. Along with that, Gaby has plans for one year of Optional Practical Training (OPT) as well. While working in her OPT, she has been given many more opportunities, “right now, we have been working with a project in Africa, it’s amazing, it’s opened doors wherever [I] go.” Her CPT and OPT are both as a project manager at a company called Corewoman, that helps women develop the skills needed to succeed in school and career. “I have had the chance to implement the knowledge acquired in [my] classes into the real working world,” she said about her experience working with the company.
In her words, if she could describe her experiences at ANU in a summary, it would go: “ANU is the place to start higher [education] because they have everything.” She says it was a perfect experience for her.
Gaby’s summarizes her education at ANU as: “never doubt yourself about your experience.” She goes on to describe that she felt many doubts and fears about earning her MBA, because of her age and that being 47 years old would hold her back from achieving this dream. She overcame this doubt because “I can take all my experience from my past work and bring new dimensions, new approach[es] to the discussion board every week.” She says this is incredible and reflects the diversity of ANU—no matter who you are, where you are from, or how old you are, you can always find success through ANU. “I had people in my classes from Kenya, India, and China and Latin America, and that brings diversity of thought to the table…the experience and the networking that I created there was also fantastic.”
Gaby recommends ANU to everyone who wants to earn higher education and degrees within the US. When asked if she would give advice to those students looking to earn their degree at ANU, she said: “Always ask. Always ask because the staff is willing to answer all the time…For ANU, there is no silly question. All the questions are important because the question is coming from you. You will be in good hands all the time.”