Valeria Marcia, Gabriela Gonzalez, Arielle Johnson and Salima Bhanvadia
Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship students (from left) Valeria Marcia, Gabriela Gonzalez, Arielle Johnson and Salima Bhanvadia.

Entrepreneurship master’s program grows to more than 50% female

See what four female students said about what they hope to accomplish as part of the Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship.

The University of Florida Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship achieved a record number of female students with its latest class. Of the current students earning their degrees in entrepreneurship, 55% of the students are female.

We asked four of these students why they chose the University of Florida’s Thomas S. Johnson Master of Science in Entrepreneurship (MSE) as part of their entrepreneurial journey. From starting their own businesses to learning to run their current businesses better, read on to see why they chose to earn a master’s degree in entrepreneurship.

Valeria Marcia

“I start by saying that this choice was the result of my inner and professional journey. I have a background in law, and I worked as a lawyer in Milan (Italy) for three years. I subsequently decided to embark on a Ph.D. law program. During those years, I studied law & technology, and I developed my dream to build a company and help people solve their legal problems through technology. However, I haven’t the proper business knowledge, and I didn’t know where to start. The MSE program was serendipity. 

I moved to Gainesville because my husband joined the University of Florida as an Assistant Professor at the Fisher School of Accounting. Browsing the UF website, I learned about the MSE program, which immediately caught my attention for its very practical approach and the variety of courses offered. So, I decided to apply. I started this fall, and I must say that I am truly amazed at how much I have learned in such a short time.

My goal is to become a serial entrepreneur in the field of law & technology. The Master of Science in Entrepreneurship has uncovered my creativity and my passion for building value.”

Gabriela Gonzalez

“When I graduated high school all I wanted to do was sing. I wasn’t really interested in anything else. When I told this to my dad, who is an engineer, he fully supported my request as long as I studied something else with it. Before I auditioned to the music program, I investigated the specialized master’s programs, as they seemed like great options to complement my music. I came to realize that the disciplines of entrepreneurship and music have a lot in common in that each takes a lot of commitment, good work ethic, passion and innovation. When I read about the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program, I knew that would be the best way to use my creativity in a business environment.  

My goals with the MSE program have changed a lot during the years. At the start of college, I thought it would be interesting to have my own music academy. However, as I continued with my musical studies, I realized that teaching wasn’t for me. I created my own music YouTube channel in 2014 and have been working on it ever since. I am using what I learn in the MSE program to continue to grow and work on my channel which I consider my own business. At the start of this school year, I decided I wanted to pursue a full-time job in sales to gain experience in the industry. I attended all of the career fairs and spoke with a lot of amazing recruiters. I accepted my full-time offer at The Walt Disney Company on October 27, 2021, where I will be working for the Disney Signature Experiences sector as a Sales Analyst.”

Arielle Johnson

“I chose to pursue the UF MSE program as a part of my role working for the University of Florida. I currently am the Academic Assistant in the UF MBA program and wanted to take advantage of the tuition assistance that the University offers. It is my desire to stay working in higher education and doing so requires continuing education for growth. As a part of this pursuit, I worked with Andy Lord and other colleagues to find the best program. Working for the Warrington College of Business, it felt right getting acquainted with the student experience side of things.

Additionally, I currently own and operate a local wedding photography company, so the MSE program felt like the best fit to help me in both of my professional endeavors. Upon completing the MSE program I hope to have acquired some new skills to continue to grow my photography business in addition to the new level of education to help me grow in my role here at UF.”

Salima Bhanvadia

“I chose the MSE program for my master’s degree as the class titles and details excited me to learn something completely new for me. I was excited to take courses such as corporate entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation and others which would help me gain a broader perspective of business decisions made by companies. Studying entrepreneurship has also allowed me to try out new ideas and solve problems without harsh consequences.

After completing the program, I aspire to become a successful leader, be it in the corporate world or for my own startup company. I hope to use the practical skills learned in the program to excel and grow in my current job and open up new opportunities for me to start something of my own one day.”