April Rowland

Using an MBA to move into a competitive career

How April Rowland (MBA '25) is making the most of her diverse skillset with a graduate business degree from the University of Florida.

What kinds of jobs are available for a professional with 10 years of experience in teaching and data analytics? April Rowland (MBA ’25) grappled with this question to determine whether she could find a role that would utilize all her skills. Her answer led her to the Master in Business Administration (MBA) program at the University of Florida Warrington College of Business.

April Rowland poses on a rock. Before enrolling in Warrington’s MBA program, Rowland worked with ABA Technologies for 10 years. When she started at the company, she used her undergraduate education in fine arts to create designs and edit curriculums for businesses providing behavioral services and universities with behavioral science programs. She also worked part-time with children with developmental delays, learning about the clinical side of her work.

A few years into her career, Rowland earned a graduate degree in applied behavior analysis from the Florida Institute of Technology. With her degree came a promotion to manage instructors. For the next seven years, she focused her efforts on building skills in data analytics, creating tools to increase work efficiency in her department and teaching more courses online.

“I loved teaching as it allowed me to create engaging and effective learning materials, continuously evaluate my teaching strategies and see the effects of my work on student success,” she said. “Over time, I began working with other departments to help them use data to solve their own issues. This prompted me to investigate opportunities similar to this internal consulting work, ultimately leading me to start my MBA at UF.”

Earning an MBA, Rowland decided, would open the door to the next phase of her career: consulting.

“Initially, I spoke with Andy Lord about a degree in information systems, but with my unique background and my goal of strategic leadership and advising executives, we decided that the MBA was a better fit,” she explained. “Combining this with my analytic background and experience working in a small, flexible organization would allow me to do more strategic work.”

Another conversation with Carly Escue, director of graduate business career services, inspired Rowland to prioritize honing her public speaking skills while in the program. To be a competitive consultant, she recognizes, being able to speak well in non-academic contexts is important.

April Rowland with her classmates and orange, white and blue balloons. Case competitions have offered the perfect practice. With her team, Rowland has won two case competitions and reached the final round in another. At the competitions, she was singled out to receive several individual awards for her performance and leadership during Q&A’s.

Rowland anticipates starting an internship with Bain & Company in June, where she’ll join a project to do management consulting. All her hard work and experience has prepped her to hit the ground running. In the meantime, she continues to chase her professional and personal goals. Last year, she ran three half-marathons with her family and friends and visited the Grand Tetons and has plans to run and visit more national parks this year.

“I’m motivated by the role models I’ve had in my life,” she shared. “My uncle, grandpa and late boss all worked their way into positions of leadership despite life difficulties and humble beginnings. Each of them has given me advice on life and professional decisions in times of uncertainty, such as when I considered leaving my job of 10 years to pursue my MBA.

“While I have not yet started work in consulting, I am excited for the work based on my prior experience teaching and internally consulting,” she said. “My aim is to fulfill my passion for acquiring new skills and to dedicate myself to resolving complex, ambiguous problems.”