Parker Christian poses in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium before her graduation this spring

Graduation spotlight: Parker Christian

Parker Christian was born and raised in Washington, D.C. but always knew she wanted to attend the University of Florida. Both of her parents graduated from UF, and just like her dad, she will become a double Gator after graduating with her Master of Science in Management degree this weekend. 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

Christian: “After graduation, I plan on working in Santa Barbara for Longoria Winery over the summer. Longoria Winery is located in the Lompoc wine region of California and has been operating for over 40 years. Longoria recently became a Christian family business this year, and I am so happy to use what I’ve learned from my advertising degree and the MSM program to help out with marketing and operations in SoCal. After the summer, I plan on working in marketing (hopefully in L.A. or Chicago). I am currently in the job-seeking process and scoping out a few options in these areas.”

Q: How did you benefit from your undergraduate program?

Christian: “I really benefited from my undergraduate program mainly due to the amazing staff UF is able to recruit for our program. My professors were able to pass along so much valuable insight from their experiences in the field and the curriculum applies very directly to my career path. I was also able to choose a concentration and gain my graphic design certificate during undergrad. Those were some of my favorite classes to take and taught me so much about honing my craft. 

“Additionally, being a part of JCA as an ambassador, secretary, and eventually, the president has allowed me to build relationships with students, perspective students, alumni, recruiters, and CJC staff. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to give back to the community that gave me so much.”

Q: How did you grow professionally from your time in the MSM program?

Christian: “I have grown tremendously from my time in the MSM program. The resources provided to us through CAP mentors and Career Advisors are amazing. It has been such a help to gain connections through UF recruiting partnerships and through the valuable advice advisors provide around the clock. I struggle with anxiety and the job application process seemed very overwhelming to me at the start. I am so thankful for Houston (Bailey) and Rob (Kairuz) for bolstering my confidence and helping me through every step. Not only have I grown through the career development resources, but I truly believe the MSM curriculum has prepared me very well for my future career. No matter what industry you go into, the coursework is applicable professionally AND personally.”

 Q: What has been the most important thing you’ve learned from the MSM program?

Christian: “Academically: The most important thing I’ve learned from the MSM program is probably what I’ve learned regarding finance. Throughout my education, I was really missing basic finance and accounting curriculum. This is super important because it is necessary to know this information no matter what field you plan to go into. I was surprised when I ended up loving my Financial Accounting and Finance classes, as I had heard they were the most difficult. I think everyone should be learning these essentials.

“Personally: Coming into this program, I struggled with being what’s known as a maximizer. Constantly comparing myself to my peers, I lacked confidence and was going through imposter syndrome. I think it’s really important to shine a light on the fact that though I strived academically in this program, behind the scenes I was really struggling on a personal level. Gaining friends throughout my time here that were able to build up my confidence will have a very long-lasting impact on my future professional AND personal success. I learned that constantly trying to measure yourself up to expectations and those around you leaves you drained and burnt out, even if it helps you be successful academically. My hope is that if more people acknowledge this problem, fewer people will struggle with it.”

Q: What is your best memory from the MSM program?

Christian: “My best memory from the MSM program has to be something I’ve done with the friends I’ve made. I’ve been lucky to have a large friend group made up of people from my cohort. Being able to have support through school and through personal challenges has made all the difference in my success in the program. From late-night studying to karaoke to gator games, I am going to really miss the amazing friends I have found through this program. (Shoutout Santi, Rob, Michael, Devon, Athena, Amanda, Cara, Sam, Morgan, Omri, and Dante!)”

Q: What is your biggest takeaway from your entire time at UF?

Christian: “The biggest takeaway from my time at UF has been to not take any moment for granted. If you aren’t happy in a situation, change it. If you are happy, appreciate it. As my time is coming to an end, I have been doing something different every day just to fit in everything I wish I had been able to do during my time here. Though schoolwork is definitely important, it is important to have a healthy school/social balance. Utilizing the healthcare resources at UF has really helped me to get to a place where I can enjoy every moment, and I highly encourage those struggling to reach out for help.”