Jacinda Alves, BS '08, MSN '15, MBA '16, has found investing in herself by pursuing two master's degrees is already paying off, even before she participates in Commencement.


Jacinda Alves, BS '08, MSN '15, MBA '16, has found investing in herself by pursuing two master's degrees is already paying off professionally, even before she participates in Commencement 2016.

MSN/MBA Graduate’s Advice on Investing in Yourself: Just Do it

Jacinda Alves ’08 has a message for other Elms College baccalaureate degree holders weighing the decision to invest in their future by pursuing an advanced degree: “Just go for it. Life happens, and life’s always going to happen, so don’t put it on the back burner.”

After graduating from Elms in 2008 with her bachelor’s degree in nursing, the Ludlow native got a job right away as a night nurse on an orthopedic unit at Baystate Medical Center. It was a good job, but she wanted to try something different. “I wanted a change,” she said. “I wanted to challenge myself. So I took a huge jump from inpatient nursing to outpatient nursing.”

She then became a patient care coordinator in the gastroenterology office at Baystate Medical Center. Although she loved the job, she still felt a need for something more.

After watching a family member finish the MSN education track at Elms College and hearing her speak highly of the program, Jacinda decided to explore the possibility of pursuing an advanced degree at her alma mater.

She then met with Cynthia Dakin, the School of Nursing’s director of graduate studies.

“She talked about the MSN program and the education track in healthcare management, but, being in ambulatory care, I knew it was the management track I wanted to go into,” Jacinda explained.

She initially joined the MSN/MBA program with the hope that she could finish in two years.

“That didn’t go as planned,” she said, smiling. “Working full time and going to school was quite a lot. I finished the MBA in October 2015. It took me three years.”

She received her MSN in late 2014, but she didn’t walk with the rest of her class at graduation in May 2015 because she wanted to wait until she had finished both degrees. 

“I started for both; I’m walking for both,” she said of her plans to participate in Commencement 2016.

Although she has yet to participate in the pomp and circumstance of graduation, she is already enjoying professional advancement as a result of having two master’s degrees.

“I have been promoted to clinical supervisor, so I oversee the nurses and medical assistants within the office, and I work in partnership with our administrative supervisor,” Jacinda said. “It has opened up so many more doors that I know, moving forward, no matter what I want to do— if it’s nursing or if it’s administrative — that I’ll have the background to go in whatever direction opportunities arise.”

Learn more about the MSN/MBA program here.