Working Her Way Up: Tia’s Story with ANU

Tia Macklin-Vemba did her fair share of job hopping and college browsing, trying to find the right fit for her life and needs. She cycled through retail jobs, working as a server, working in call centers, and even tried to attend nursing school three separate times to find her interest. Those weren’t right for her, and community college wasn’t either. However, she earned a job at a shoe store and quickly rose to an assistant manager position – she realized that she liked moving up in businesses. After that, Tia decided to try American National University – as National Business College when she attended – and that choice allowed her to finally stick with a program and find her new passion. She graduated in 2013 with her associate degree in Business Administration Management – and she’s only been climbing since!

Tia started at ANU when the school was still known as National Business College – she was attending classes on campus in Danville, Virginia. She became interested in attending because she lived just around the corner from campus. “I had heard it was career friendly, so people who had to work, it was a lot easier,” she says. “Community college didn’t work for me mainly because of scheduling.” She had just taken a position at a retail store as an assistant manager and knowing that she could be in class after she got off work allowed her to pursue her education through ANU. “I went down [to ANU] and everybody was so helpful, they had all of my process[ing] done in the same week.”

Though her original plan began with community college and even nursing school, but Tia could not complete either of those pathways of education. She originally planned to join our medical assisting program, but something wasn’t quite right. She noticed a pattern in every job she had however, and that was her desire to move up within the company. “I grew a knack for the business side of things,” she recalls. She spoke with our career services department to help orient herself in her long-term goals once she started at ANU. “She helped me realize my focus was really on business. She advised that would be a great route for me, so I gave it a shot! And it really worked out in my favor.

While attending her Business Administration Management associate degree program, Tia took a lot of what she learned in her classes to aid her in her career. She was able to utilize her job as an assistant manager at a retail store as her externship experience – she was gaining employment experience in management all while fulfilling her educational goals without losing time or money in her career. Not only that, after graduation, Tia fondly remembers her classes. “I do know the business program predominately focused on corporate, but they did touch [on] small business. And that really helped me,” she says. “I took a leap, and I used a lot of what I learned from this course, and I did open up a small business.” She describes how she opened up a smoothie shop, where she focused on a lot of protein, low sugar and low carb pastries and smoothies. “And even though it was years later, I still remembered a lot of what he said—just from his own personal experience and what he taught,” she recalls of one professor.

She currently works as a business development manager at a medical staffing agency—some of her responsibilities (though not all) are overseeing recruitment, organizing community activities and involvement, and working with nonprofit organizations. She has future goals to move even further in the company she is in now, and with hopes to earn a bachelor’s degree in business so that she can continue to move up. And upon learning that ANU is now 100% online so that she can earn that education while working and from the comfort of her own home, she plans to look into our programs. “I really want to get my bachelors, and it it’s going to be that doable, I can do that!

After reflecting on all of her experiences at ANU, she recalls how essential our career services department was to her education. She always felt comfortable reaching out to the department and that they were great at helping with resumes, but even more so with job placement. She recalls being presented with a list of opportunities that she could go for after she finished her degree program. “I never had a college do that for me before.” She recalls how she could get the explanations she needed from our career services department when it came to things like her resume or her future career. “I think that career development is very essential to people who are in school and graduation, because it can be hard to get a job after, so I thought [the department] was great!


Tia would “definitely recommend” ANU to other people looking to earn their education. “It was worth it,” she says of her time at ANU. “I could never finish at community college… ANU just made it possible for me to commit, be consistent, and complete. So I would definitely recommend!”

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