Change Comes Natural for M.B.A. Student
When Claudia Gomez-Beltran is asked the seemingly simple question of “where are you from?” it usually requires a not-so-simple answer.
“I was born in Mexico, but moved to Lebo, Kansas when I was a teenager,” said Gomez-Beltran.
The M.B.A. student, with a concentration in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), is set to graduate from Emporia State University this May. It won’t be her first Emporia State graduation though. Gomez-Beltran graduated with Bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Spanish Literature in 2012. When she graduates this time she will be leaving for an internship with Invista, a subsidiary of Koch Industries.
“While I will miss ESU, I am excited and ready for this change,” she said.
Change is something that comes pretty naturally to Gomez-Beltran. In 2002, at age 13, she moved from Toluca, Mexico with her family to Lebo.
“My dad had been working in the Emporia area for years and would split his year between Emporia and Mexico. It had been the plan for us to move here for a while, the distance was just too hard.”
Gomez-Beltran recalls having mixed emotions during the move.
“I was excited to move to a new country, and my friends thought it was pretty cool, but I was sad to leave them and the rest of my family behind. And I knew zero English. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.”
When Gomez-Beltran and her three siblings started school in Lebo, the school district didn’t have an ESL program. It quickly hired someone to translate for the family, and eventually hired someone who was able to teach them and help them with their schoolwork. Remarkably, by the end of her first year in America, Gomez-Beltran was able to read and write at the normal 8th grade level. Soon after that, she was able to comfortably hold a conversation.
Gomez-Beltran’s Mexican heritage is something that is still very prominent in her life today.
“We still celebrate some of the traditional Mexican holidays like Day of the Dead and Three Kings Day in January,” said Gomez-Beltran. “My mom still makes traditional homemade Mexican food every day. I try to go home every Sunday to spend time with everyone and eat good food.”
Gomez-Beltran and her family try to travel to Mexico about once a year to visit family and friends.
When Gomez-Beltran was looking for a college to continue her education after high school, being close to family was important.
“I chose ESU because of its proximity to my hometown and the one-on-one attention you receive from the faculty. It has a family-like feeling, which I absolutely love!”
When she visited campus, she was introduced to the various services available for first-generation students and Hispanic students. She was able to receive tutoring and participate in events through the TRiO Program that helped her adjust to the college environment. TRiO is a federally-funded program that is part of the Higher Education Act of Congress. It is designed to assist students in successfully completing their post-secondary education.
These programs also led her to the Hispanic American Leadership Organization, a student group she was involved in for four years and held multiple offices in. During her undergraduate years she also served as president of Chi Alpha Epsilon, an honors society for predominantly first-generation students. During her undergraduate years Gomez-Beltran was also involved with community organizations, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters and Youth Friends (an Emporia mentoring program that assists K-12 students with one-on-one attention).
While studying Business Administration, Gomez-Beltran was able to add a concentration in International Business, and also study abroad in Spain.
“I’m very interested in working abroad one day,” said Gomez-Beltran. “Probably in a Latin American country. My experience at ESU and abroad helped me realize that and prepared me for that opportunity, whenever it might arise.”
Until then, Gomez-Beltran is excited for her future with Koch Industries. She has secured an internship with Invista Corporation after graduation and will work as a Business System Analyst on an ERP project the company started developing last year.
“The ERP concentration is one that you don’t see at every school, but something that definitely set me apart. When I was doing research on the company, I saw their focus on ERP and knew I would be a good fit. I’m excited to get started.”
Gomez-Beltran first met with representatives of Koch Industries when they were on campus for mock Interviews sponsored by Emporia State’s Career Services. The company gave her some helpful tips so that when it came time for the actual on-campus interviews, she would be ready. And she was.
“My business classes and the mock Interviews really prepared me for the job search process,” said Gomez-Beltran. “I felt very comfortable and confident going into it.”
In the time leading up to graduation, Gomez-Beltran will continue working at her on-campus job in the School of Business Resource Center.
Jessica Buchholz, the Director of Student Services and Marketing in the School of Business, said, “Claudia is not only a great student, but also an important part of our marketing and recruitment of new business students. She has played a significant role in the development of the Business Resource Center and is always great to work with!”
Gomez-Beltran will also be enjoying her last few months as a student at ESU.
“I can’t believe I’m almost done with college. I’ll miss the professors, who throughout my seven years at ESU have become my mentors and people I can go to with any concerns I have. I’ll also miss working with the ‘Dream Team’ in the School of Business, but mainly I’ll miss being minutes away from my friends. I plan on making the most of these last few months at ESU by enjoying every moment I have to talk to professors, hang out with friends, and continue developing a network for the future.”
— Story by Jennifer Cheray