Grad Q&A with Business Office Administration Graduate Rosario Ontiveros
Rosario Ontiveros has balanced work and education ever since she graduated from high school over ten years ago. The first few years were fast food, then retail store management roles, while she went to community college. She took breaks between semesters to save enough to keep plugging away toward a business certification. She decided to look for a shorter path to get there.
Rosario was determined to expand her Customer Service roles into a career that would position her for job growth and big leaps in business advancement opportunities.
How did SJVC’s Business Office Administration (BOA) program in Atascadero first show up on your radar?
My sister, Alejandra (25), actually did the Clinical Medical Assisting program there and she really loved it. She learned a lot and said they (staff/faculty) help you out with everything you need. And, my friend, Jennifer, did the BOA program and told me the instructors were really hands-on and were great with motivation. She loved it.
I scheduled an appointment with an Admissions Advisor, but the BOA program was only offered in the mornings, and I worked full-time during the day. About a month later she called me back when the program was going to have an evening class. It worked out that I got off work at 4:30 and the class started at 5:00, Monday through Thursday.
Was the BOA program a good match for you?
When I started the program, I began to realize that I really liked this work. I’m already in the Customer Service world, so why not amplify it and get the background that would give me a better position in that field.
I know that accounting and business go hand-in-hand, but I liked the fact that they broke it down for us. I learned how a good accounting system and business management can give you better revenue and profits, and it keeps everything balanced properly.
Did you struggle with the BOA program content?
I faced a lot of challenges on the Accounting (course) side. Math is not my strong suit. I just had to pay close attention to what our professor was telling us and make sure I did all the practices in our book. I learned much more than I thought I was going to learn.
I would do a lot of my homework at my mom’s (Gloria) house and my younger sister, Valeria (13), would help me practice presentations. She would tell me if she liked the way they looked or, ‘You should add more color, that looks too small’, or ‘you lost me when you said this…’. When a kid can tell you, ‘I don’t understand what you’re saying’, I know I need to change something.
Did you have a lot of support from family?
My whole family was very encouraging. When my mom would see me stressed out, she would tell me, ‘You’re smart, you’ll get through this, just take a deep breath’.
She never made college an expectation. She never said we have to go to school; she just pushed us to want more out of life. If we went to community college or a 4-year university, once we were in school, she wanted to make sure we were the best at what we were doing. Whatever we wanted to do, she would support you, regardless of what it is.
What did you enjoy most in your Business Office Administration program?
I actually enjoyed my externship (work experience the last few weeks of the BOA program), being hands-on and putting into my work what we’d learned in the classroom. I used it all from the get-go. I did a lot of data-keeping, Excel spreadsheet – everything I’d learned I could actually apply it in a work setting. It boosted my confidence, so that when I go into an interview, it’s just going to be easier. I felt prepared.
What inspired you most to complete your program?
Definitely my mom and my grandfather, Marin. He only went up to the 5th grade in his education, but he became a businessman, owning a restaurant in Mexico. I always thought that was amazing. He made sure all his daughters went to school and even put my grandmother through her Master’s degree. He created an empire of his own, and you know what – I can do that too.
My grandfather has definitely been one of my biggest supporters and motivators to get everything I want.
After you completed your BOA program in October 2020, where did you land?
It was a great experience overall, and I loved that I was able to find a job in my field afterwards. I work for Advanced Electrical Systems, an electrical contractor where I am primarily responsible for our electrical crew. I do project scheduling, material ordering and the data entry for all of our jobs. I’m starting to get into the bookkeeping and am training on how to do their Accounts Payable an Accounts Receivable.
It’s a small company so I’m basically doing the Human Resources too where I receive resumes, look through them and pass them along to the Office Manager.
What is your vision for the future?
My future plan is to own a business for myself. I think I’m going to do a restaurant, as well, as owner/manager. I’m thinking casual, some good food, good environment, good prices. I would probably do Mexican food and will definitely incorporate my mom’s and my grandpa’s recipes.
They sparked that light and if I keep pushing, I can put everything I learned into use.
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