Rachel Jarnagin – Business Manager
Rachel Jarnagin, the Business Manager of the Office of International Affairs, is a native of Lubbock and understands the importance of the Texas Tech to the greater South Plains. “Lubbock would not be Lubbock without the university, and I've always been interested in being a part of the Texas Tech family. It's instilled in you growing up here - you're a Red Raider! Did I think I would be doing what I'm doing now? Not necessarily, but I've grown to love it.”
How long have you been at Tech and what was your first job?
I started at Tech in 2006 and worked in the accounts payable department for the university. In 2008, I moved to the Office of International Affairs (OIA) as the administrative business assistant for Study Abroad. In the past, most units in the OIA were responsible for their own finances. About six years ago, the finances for the building were combined under two people, one of which was me. So I started as an administrative business assistant for Study Abroad, worked my way up to a unit coordinator, then unit administrator and now I'm the business manager for the entire OIA. I feel like I've grown a lot by taking on new roles over the years – all in the financial area. When you go from working in one unit, to doing the finances for half the building, and then the finances for the entire office, it's kind of a shocker.
Tell me about your current role at the Office of International Affairs.
“Currently, I'm the business manager for the OIA and I'm responsible for the Administration and Finance unit. This is a new unit that was established about two years ago and I'm appreciative that Dr. Misra gave me the opportunity to manage this unit. It was definitely a challenge. It was not an established unit where you just had to go in and tweak a few things. We were creating a whole new unit and that was a little difficult. I was used to working by myself and now I have a team so I had to figure it out. It's been a little tricky, but I can't believe we didn't create this unit earlier. We work well together as a unit and I'm proud of that.”
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
“My favorite part of my job is the financial side. If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have never said this but for some reason I enjoy spreadsheets and crunching numbers. I know that sounds geeky, but I can do it all day long. One of the biggest challenges of my job is understanding the different aspects of each unit in the OIA. The Administration and Finance unit is a support unit for all the departments in this building. To some degree, you have to know a little about each unit and each unit is so diverse. We have everything from immigration, study abroad, grants and research, and the K-12 unit at the OIA. The challenge is that our area needs to know and keep track of changes in each unit. We also have to work with changes from the Texas Tech Administration and Finance department. For example, Tech is about to change its entire travel system. The OIA probably does about 300 travel applications a year which is quite a lot.”
What is one of the most interesting things you have done while working at the OIA?
“I used to go to the Seville every summer to reconcile the finances for the TTU Center. Accounting services only wanted one reconciliation, so it made sense. Unfortunately, we don't do it that way anymore. I also visited the University of Arkansas Center in Rome when we were doing a lot of work with them. I've gotten to travel and experience a lot with OIA. I didn't know anything about foreign currency when I started here– reading foreign receipts and dealing with foreign bank accounts. I was constantly asking the Seville study abroad advisor why the transactions for the Center took so long to process. My very first time in Spain, we went to the bank and it took two hours to make some simple transactions. It's a totally different world than what I was used to. Learning about the culture of Spain helped me with my job and understanding other cultures. Seville is a great city and it's not super touristy. I would go back in a heartbeat. It's just a nice place and there's so much to do.”
How has the OIA grown since you started working here?
“Since I started working here, the staff size has doubled. I remember when half the offices in the building were vacant. Now we only have one empty office in the entire building. I've been here 11 years and it's amazing how much we've grown. I can't wait to see where we are in the next five to ten years.”