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Portrait of Alicia Arnold

Alicia Arnold

Operations Coordinator, Student Financial Services at Southeast Missouri State University

amarnold@semo.edu

Majored in General Studies

Graduated in 2013


Explain your career path

As part of an assignment in my last semester for a class in 2013, we were required to create a resume and cover letter and submit a job application. As part of this assignment, I applied for a Financial Aid Specialist position with SEMO and interviewed with the University in October 2013, right before my graduation. Shortly before my undergraduate commencement, my new supervisor called and said, "Merry Christmas and Happy Graduation from Southeast Missouri State University. We're offering you the job." After a promotion, it's now my 8th year with the University where I work in Student Financial Services. During my time working for SEMO, I graduated with my MBA in Financial Management in May 2019. I love serving students and have gained valuable experience working alongside staff members who previously handled my financial aid when I was a student.

What was your major at Southeast and how would you characterize the quality of that program to prospective students?

My undergraduate program was Bachelor of General Studies and a Minor in Management. My Graduate program was MBA in Financial Management. I consider the business program at Southeast a challenging program that prepares business students for real-life in a business work environment. I learned valuable skills for data mining and database management during my studies, among many other things such as strategic decision making and international finance.

Why did you choose to attend Southeast?

I chose to attend Southeast because it was close to home to visit family but still far enough away that I could build my independence.

Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?

My supervisor at Southeast after graduating with my undergraduate degree was my mentor. She believed in me, took me under her wing, and when she retired I was hired into her position. She inspired me by her strong morals and faith, and this gave me strength and encouragement while I was pursuing my graduate program. I think it's important for growth to both have a mentor and to have someone to mentor.

Share your best college memory.

My best college memory was learning about Chinese culture and language from my Chinese roommate and the friends she introduced me to. I'm intrigued and impressed by the diversity of the students at Southeast and love learning from people from different countries.

What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?

The most important thing I learned at Southeast was how to think critically and make decisions. While no one class can adequately prepare someone for the workforce, the theme I learned from many of the classes that I carry with me today is the critical thinking and problem solving skills. Southeast challenged me to think outside the box and to not give up.

Describe Southeast in three words.

Diverse, Resilient, Determined

What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?

For students pursuing a career in financial management or financial aid, I would advise students to never get too comfortable with how things currently are because the business world is constantly changing. If you ever think you know everything, you will be sadly mistaken because then it will change. It is important to be flexible, adaptive to change, and a team-player.

Contact

(573) 651-2154
modegard@semo.edu
Memorial 208A

College of Humanities and Social Sciences
One University Plaza
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701