Javier Suarez Paz, Niri Villegas and Sean O'Connell.
Weekend Professional in South Florida MBA Class of 2025 students (from left) Javier Suarez Paz, Niri Villegas and Sean O'Connell.

Meet the latest incoming University of Florida Weekend-Professional MBA in South Florida class

The Warrington College of Business is proud to welcome its latest class to the UF MBA Weekend Professional in South Florida program. We invite you to meet some of the Class of 2025 by learning more about who they are, what they do, why they chose the University of Florida and more.

Class of 2025:

  • Class size – 44
  • Average age – 32
  • Average years of work experience – 9
  • Women – 36% / Men – 64%

Current roles and employers*:

  • Project Manager – Sam Fisch Development
  • Manager, Finance Leadership Development Program and Workforce Strategy – NextEra Energy
  • Project Manager – Stryker
  • Director, Regulatory Affairs – e5 Pharma & Mizner Bioscience
  • Account Manager – Otis Elevator
  • Civil Engineer Project Manager – Kimley Horn

Degrees from*:

  • West Point
  • Florida State University
  • University of Florida
  • Universidad Rafael Urdaneta (Venezuela)
  • University of Miami
  • Northwestern University
  • University of Arkansas

Undergraduate majors*:

  • Civil Engineering
  • Mandarin Chinese
  • Kinesiology and Exercise Science
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Biology
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

* Select listing. More employers, universities and majors represented in the full class. 

What do you hope to get out of your UF MBA experience?

  • “I spent a lot of time evaluating different programs for my MBA and what really stood out about a University of Florida was the excellent educators and program design. UF has curated an excellent program that helps to strengthen a graduate’s knowledge while also providing leadership development, exposure to industry diversity, and the ability to learn from tenured faculty.” – Ashlie Picon
  • “During my time in the program, I hope to continue building connections with my peers. Everyone in the cohort comes from different educational and professional backgrounds, which allows you to also learn from them. Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to have had many supportive mentors who have served as role models. An MBA from the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business would lead me on the path to becoming a leader and inspiring future generations of regulatory professionals. The University of Florida will provide me with the foundation and edge needed to excel in the pharmaceutical industry.” – Marc Lanzar
  • “Coming from a military background, I want to learn more about business. I hope to strengthen my network in Florida and move up in my industry.” – Casey Clemons

Why did you choose the University of Florida?

  • “The main reason why I chose the University of Florida for my MBA is the program’s reputation, faculty expertise, curriculum, location and schedule, alumni network, and career placement opportunities.” – Niri Villegas
  • “Many factors influenced my decision to choose the University of Florida, Warrington College of Business. I reside in south Florida and was happy to find out that I could take classes in-person rather than online. My previous graduate program was online, and I believe that in-person classes provide a better learning experience, especially when it comes to networking and interacting with a diverse class profile. I also chose the University of Florida because of curriculum offered and the quality of education I would receive. The same faculty in Gainesville teach the South Florida MBA program.” – Marc Lanzar
  • “I chose the UF MBA program because it is a recognized business program with a strong academic and placement reputation nationally. The program and faculty consistently rank as one of the best among public business schools in the US for various business fields. Learning from these top-rated faculty will provide me great knowledge to be able to grow professionally and personally. Another reason I chose the UF MBA because part of the programs’ curriculum includes an international trip that I am looking forward to participating in. This international trip will help me better understand other cultures and business etiquette as well as to further enrich my global knowledge and understanding of the global business context. Lastly, being part of the UF MBA provides the opportunity to be among other entrepreneurial and business minded classmates that will result in great networking opportunities.” – Javier Suarez Paz

What advice do you have for others on the admissions process?

  • “Build your network and do your research. UF has multiple opportunities both virtually and in person to talk to their administrations team. The experience was very enjoyable and I was able to ask very specific questions related to the experience I was looking for. Speaking to alumni also provided a lot of insight.” – Ashlie Picon
  • “I urge anyone who even thinks of applying to go ahead and do it! Putting your best foot forward and committing is the first step in the process. Afterwards, I would remain confident in yourself and continue to be genuine with who you are and what you want to achieve. It is very likely that there is a person waiting to hear your goals or a lesson that you’ll learn within weeks that will expand your appreciation for business, economic, finance, etc. Try not to worry about the outcome or you sell yourself short. You have made it this far for a reason!” – Sean O’Connell