Roxanne Biggar grew up in Bonne Terre, a small town in Southeastern Missouri. In 2008, she received a bachelor’s of arts degree in history from Washington University in St. Louis, where she also minored in art history. She graduated from the Crosby MBA program in May 2014 with a concentration in management. While in the program, Mrs. Biggar was the Intramural Chair of MBAA as well as a Crosby Ambassador and member of the Association of Trulaske Businesswomen, for which she designed the logo. She now works in Kansas City as a pricing manager at YRC Freight.
A cornerstone of my interview preparation process involves trying to anticipate the questions an interviewer might ask. I had an advantage over many of my friends because I knew there was one question I would get every time, “I see you majored in history, why?” I loved this question.
Historical events, places, and people always fascinated me, and it seemed only natural for me to pursue a degree in that field. But when I declared that major my sophomore year, I had no idea just how valuable what I learned would become. Although I learned a lot about history, the most valuable lessons did not come from texts or lectures.
During the four years I worked after college, I realized I was looking at business problems the same way I had tackled history papers, using analytical skills to sort through piles of documents to separate the worthless data from the information that would help earn an A — or win a bid. I could think critically, identifying problems and synthesizing information relevant to solving them. Incredibly, my history degree made me better at doing business.
I’d always liked business. I made and sold little sleeping bags for Beanie Babies — which were the hot toy for grade-schoolers — at craft fairs in fifth grade. I convinced my mom to go into business with me part-time after I graduated from college. We still
design and sell T-shirts to help promote educational and community groups in my
hometown. And when my aunt decided to expand her gardening business, I created her record-keeping and invoicing system, designed her logo, and made T-shirts for her to wear at farmers’ markets and worksites.
Still, I never thought about pursuing business academically.
Then, after four years at the same desk, I realized I needed something different. I liked my work but couldn’t find a similar job with my credentials. I considered working part time on an MBA but quickly realized that wouldn’t work because every evening program I explored felt very procedural. These programs missed the academic aspect I sought.
Then I found the Crosby MBA program.
There were technical classes, but there were theory classes, too. It sounded perfect. I wasn’t confident I could succeed pursing an MBA full time, but I arranged a visit anyway. I spoke with the staff about my non-traditional background. The admissions adviser assured me that it would be to my benefit because of my research and writing skills. These would also benefit the program because I would bring a new perspective to discussions and group projects.
She was right. When we discussed a Harvard Business School case in class, I could bring up points and connections others had missed because I saw things differently. Whenever I did a company valuation for finance classes, I dug into the firm’s history to help me contextualize its place in the global marketplace.
Two years after that first meeting, I prepared to start my final semester and was deep
into the job hunt. Every interviewer asked me about my non-business undergraduate degree, and I proudly spoke about how the lessons of my undergraduate studies had enhanced my experience in the business program and bolstered my credentials. Still, few seemed to buy it.
Then, I had a lunch interview with a Crosby MBA alumnus who also had earned an undergraduate degree in a non-business field. During the meal we talked about how valuable such studies had been to our current pursuits.
I was refreshed and energized to see that someone else understood, and it helped that he offered me a job a few weeks later. I accepted and now work as a pricing manager at YRC in Kansas City, where I apply the skills I learned in the humanities and the MBA program.