(By Jody Murray)
UC Merced Communications Math was clearly the vehicle that would propel Bianca Garibay into the future.
The question was where it would take her.
When the Merced native was a student at Buhach Colony High School, most people figured she would become a math teacher.
Garibay had other ideas; bio-engineering was enticing, and there was a university in her hometown that could deliver the academic goods.
She graduated from Buhach Colony in 2015 and didn’t mind staying in town to attend UC Merced. Garibay liked staying close to family, along with the advantages of a UC education. She appreciated the university’s fresh, new look and its small enrollment.
What she realized she didn’t like, after some time at UC Merced, was bio-engineering. “Designing circuits was not for me,” she said. Garibay kept her undergraduate major, Applied Mathematics. Now it was a matter of choosing what to do with it.
That’s where the Gallo Management Program came in. Garibay was recommended for the 12-month graduate program, which she saw as an opportunity to develop hands-on skills and make professional connections. She was accepted into the program and graduated with her Master of Management degree in August 2020.
“It was the best program I’ve ever been in,” said Garibay, who now works in Lakewood, Calif., as an operations support associate for A.P. Moller-Maersk, an international shipping and logistics company.
Garibay said the program helped her learn how to sharpen her ideas and present them effectively. Weekly presentations in which she received feedback from classmates and instructors nudged her out of her comfort zone.
“On Friday’s we would focus on professional development,” she said. “I learned how to make pitches about a project or idea – here’s what it is, here’s how to use it.”
With her cohort, she attended conferences that reflected course concepts and where they would interview professionals or work on their pitches. She spent her summer capstone internship with Global Green USA, an international organization that advocates for sustainability.
Garibay said she’s eager to apply innovative ideas from her Master of Management education to A.P. Moller-Maersk’s usual workflows. She also knows she can turn to the Gallo Management Program for support.
“The professors and the faculty aren’t just there to teach,” Garibay said, “They’re there to build relationships.”