Getting down to business: Meet 2022 PNW graduate Oriana White

May 9, 2022
Oriana White

Graduate student Oriana White, ’22, is completing her Master of Business Administration (MBA). White, of Dyer, has spent six years at Purdue University Northwest (PNW). She previously earned her bachelor’s in Communication with a minor in Human Resources.

During her collective time at PNW, White has had a hand in several student organizations, most notably Student Government Association (SGA). White has served as SGA’s president for 2 ½ years.

During her involvement with SGA, White feels most proud of her work helping establish student-family lounges and multicultural lounges at the Hammond and Westville campuses; obtaining free menstrual products in all gender-neutral and high-traffic women’s restrooms; establishing a prayer room at the Hammond campus; and revitalizing the Hammond campus’s community garden by University Village, which in turn will benefit the PNW Food Pantry.

White was recently recognized as “Outstanding Graduate Student” during the annual Founders Day celebration.

How do you feel your student organization activities defined your success at PNW?

“I think student organizations are the most important part of any university experience. Whether it’s for academic gains or just for fun, you need to be connected to the university in additional ways besides a class. The spirit of it is to have fun and connect with other students with similar interests.

Having a student organization, friends, and a community around you will help you push through the inevitable hard parts of attending a university. I give credit to the Public Relations Club for helping me stay at this university, because if it weren’t for them I would’ve burned out and left.”

What do you like most about PNW?

“The connections I made, whether it was faculty, staff, or students. PNW has a really great community environment when you’re ready to be a part of it. When I was ready, there were people in all departments and colleges who wanted to help me figure out what the next step would be. I just had to be open to finding these connections. An entire community opened up for support academically and professionally.”

How did you become interested in your subject?

“I chose to pursue an MBA to have a better understanding of the business world. I do really well with operations, and I like the logistics that go behind putting events together. Getting an MBA has shown all the processes that go with that. With my degree in Communication, I feel I will have knowledge to better lead a company and interact with stakeholders.

With both of these degrees, they’re both so open-ended. They open so many doors for me. I wanted to be business-minded, but also communications-minded and people-focused. Communication and Business fit that goal perfectly. Your business plan can’t stand alone unless you can communicate it to your company, or your company won’t buy in.”

What are your plans after graduation?

“In the short term, I want to be a project manager as a first step out of college. Within two years I want to be a training consultant. I want to build enough expertise to get to chief operating officer, which is kind of the five to ten-year plan. Then I can be at the head and facilitate on down.”

Was there anyone at PNW who inspired or encouraged you along the way?

Liliana Andarcia, Alumni and Strategic Events Coordinator

“She and I have been friends and coworkers my entire time at PNW. I was excited to work as her graduate assistant in Institutional Advancement because she was in the MBA program with me.

She helped with words of wisdom and encouragement. She’s been really instrumental during my entire time at PNW, keeping me calm and focused and helping me through the inevitable challenges when you’re getting a higher education.”

PNW Student

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