Realtor and Business Management Student Reaches New Career Heights

Karen D., a UC Online student in the Associate Business Management Technology program and a realtor with 21 years of experience, dreamed of taking her career and independence to a new level by owning a brokerage firm.

Path to an Associate Degree in Business Management Technology

To become a real estate broker in Ohio you must meet a list of requirements. One of those requirements is having an associate degree. Karen discovered this while signing up for brokerage courses. This realization, she said, was the catalyst that led her back to college almost four decades later.

“The phrase is kind of cliché, but it’s the power of a made-up mind where you finally decide you’re going to do something,” said Karen, about going back to school and completing an associate degree. “Once I realized that this is what was really going to move me forward, and that’s who I wanted to be, that’s who I became.”

She chose the University of Cincinnati because it is close to home and signed up for the associate business management technology program because it was in line with her professional goals. Karen felt that the financial and technology courses would help her tackle her new aspirations successfully.

Business Management: A Gateway to New Skills

When it came to building new business management skills, Karen wanted to ensure she had the tools to run a business and manage a professional staff. The curriculum in UC Online’s Business Management program helped her better understand Excel and her future business in terms of economics and marketing.

Karen said the most unexpected, but helpful course she took was economics.

“I was terrified to take econ but found it fascinating. It’s the kind of class that gives anybody going into business a broader sense of a bigger picture of who they need to be in business and what they need to accomplish.”

She said the skills she learned will be instrumental in helping her build her team and brokerage.

Balancing Classes and Work

Rather than use the phrase, ‘time management’ Karen would like to think of balancing school, work and family as prioritizing her time.

“You can’t manage time,” said Karen. “We all have the same amount of it. So, you know, it is just prioritizing my day. I block out the week every Sunday. I have, maybe 35 hours that I dedicate to work, and I have 35 hours that I dedicate to school.”

She said she is fortunate that her children are grown and self-sufficient and that her husband is extremely supportive. “My husband says, ‘Whatever you need to do’ and I’m like alright – somebody will clean the house once I graduate, it’ll be fine.”

It also helps that she has the flexibility to finish courses when it works for her. Karen explained that her schedule is sporadic – some days she focuses on school from 1-10 p.m. and other days she works with clients for eleven hours.

Support Along the Way

Even with determination and drive, Karen said there have been struggles along the way. The first time Karen took English she withdrew from the course. She said she panicked. The professor assured her she could get through the class. When she reenrolled, she spoke to her advisors and professor about finding help and online tutors.

“Finally learning how to lean into those [resources], I think, was the best advice I could have gotten from any professor or advisor,” said Karen.

Karen also mentioned that navigating scheduling when she sat down with her advisor was especially helpful because the scheduling systems are not the same as when she enrolled in college almost forty years ago.

After Her Business Management Associate Degree

After earning her associate degree, Karen said she cannot wait to own her brokerage firm. Karen explained realtors are all independent contractors but having her firm would take that independence to an all-new level. She said she would have more autonomy to manage clients and her staff.

When it comes to enrolling in higher education, Karen hopes people realize it is never too late to try something new.

Ready to Apply and Accomplish Your Dreams?

It is never too late to return to school and pursue a degree. You can learn about our online business management degree, and learn more about the degrees and programs offered at the University of Cincinnati Online. Visit

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