Tracie Ashlock, a Rawls College graduate with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management Information Systems ('91) and a Master of Business Administration ('11), currently serves at Chief Data Officer and Vice President for City Bank. Tracie has spent much of her time since receiving her bachelors helping with the advancement of Texas Tech University. Working her way from programmer to managing director of information, database & research services, Tracie spent over 10 years serving the Texas Tech University System of Institutional Advancement. Learn more about Tracie's time with the college, how it helped her career, and what advice she has for current Rawls College students in the Q&A below.
How have skills you acquired through your MIS and MBA degrees helped in your career?
My MIS degree gave me a technical advantage at the beginning of my career. Although technology changes rapidly, I was able to build a solid foundation on fundamentals, which helped me continue to learn in a fast-paced field. I finished my MBA after having already established my career, and it allowed me to view organizations from various perspectives. My MBA has helped me in communicating with the non-technical parts of an organization and to work more productively within diverse teams. It also helped me rejuvenate my desire to learn, which led to my decision to change industries and embrace the new challenges associated with that change.
What is your fondest memory of the Rawls College?
I was able to work as a student and later research assistant at the Rawls College in the Center for Professional Development. It was the first job I had that allowed me to use skills I had learned in my MIS classes. More importantly, it allowed me to take on responsibility and learn to think creatively. I gained a confidence that I have been able to carry with me and develop as I moved forward in each step of my career.
What did you do, as both a student and entry-level employee, to position yourself for success?
I worked hard and made a commitment to continue learning. When I was both a student assistant and in my first full-time job, I willingly took on any and all tasks assigned or needed. If I saw something that needed to be done, I would volunteer to complete it. I didn't wait for something that I considered important or jobs that I deemed worthy of my education to jump into a task or project. If I had any spare time, I would actively look for projects, assignments, and training opportunities. I made sure I was never above doing any job, even ones like straightening a training room, cleaning out the storage closet, or setting up computers. When I came across a task that I didn't already know how to execute, I would research the issue and work to solve it as quickly as possible. It really came down to working hard and trying my best.
What qualities do you look for in recent graduates applying for entry-level positions?
I believe the most important indicators of a good employee is their willingness to work hard and showing a desire to get the job done. I look for someone that can work for the betterment of the team and not just themselves. I look for people that show initiative to take on projects and learn independently, but aren't afraid to ask questions.
What advice would you give current students at the Rawls College?
I would tell students not to be afraid to take classes outside of their comfort zone and to determine what aspects of business they like the most. If you like your job during the more tedious moments, then you will always be enthusiastic and able to grow in your career.This supports the efforts outlined in the Rawls College of Business Strategic Plan. Learn more about the LEADER 2020 Strategic Plan and follow our progress on Twitter at #RawlsLeads.