The Giraldo Story: A Cohort of Siblings

By Lori Walker
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Siblings Finish Their Bachelor's Degrees Together

For Carlos, Tatiana and Roger Giraldo, the JBU Advance Program not only provided them the opportunity to finish their bachelor’s degrees, it allowed them to do so as a family. Born and raised in Colombia, the three siblings were attending North- West Arkansas Community College and working full-time when a human resource manager recommended JBU’s Advance Program. “I did some research on the Internet about John Brown University,” Roger said. “And when I read about how great its academic reputation was, I was excited to enroll. So my brother and I drove to the Rogers Center to get some information, and then we told my sister about it.”

Along with 21 other students in Northwest Arkansas, the Giraldo siblings began the Organizational Management Degree Completion Program in August of last year with the NW70 cohort. The Advance Program’s unique class scheduling and cohort model particularly appealed to each of them. “One of the things I really liked about the Advance Program is how everything is already set up for you,” Roger said. “You don’t do a lot of driving around from class to class. Your class schedule is already done and you know every night you’ll have class from the beginning.”

In addition to scheduling, the cohort system has been a major strength of the Advance Program for Tatiana. “I love the structure of the program,” she said.

“The people in our cohort are so supportive. It’s like a family; we talk, we share ideas, and we help each other. It motivates me to learn.” Within the small cohorts, the varied backgrounds of the students provide perspective for business application. “Our cohort is very diverse,” Carlos said. “The students have a lot of different career experiences, so there are differing viewpoints. But each person in the group is adding to my understanding of the concepts, and giving me a broader understanding of business.”

And while the scheduling and sharing of experiences has been easy, Roger is quick to clarify that the classes aren’t. “Don’t get me wrong; the program is tough,” he said. “But I love doing my homework. I’m working hard, but I know my effort will be rewarded with better preparation for my career.”

Unlike a traditional degree program, where students take multiple classes during a 16-week semester, the Advance Program delivery of one-class-ata-time for five weeks has been helpful for Tatiana. “The five-week class format allows me to master each subject,” she said. “I feel like I can focus on one subject and totally understand it before moving on.”

The Giraldo siblings are on track to receive their bachelor’s degrees in May, 2011. “Now that I’m getting my degree, I’ll have the credentials I need for my career,” Carlos said. “I already had the experience; now I’ll have the education to back up my knowledge.” For Tatiana, a bachelor’s degree is the realization of a lifelong goal. “Education is very important to me,” she said. “Getting a degree makes me very proud; proud of myself, proud of my brothers.”

All three have career goals in management, with plans to become corporate CEOs or business owners after graduation. “Once I get a bachelor’s degree, there will be a sense of accomplishment. But I won’t stop. I want to get my MBA,” Roger said.


Lori Walker is director of admissions for the Advance Program