Amy Vann (MS ’19) continues to rise through the ranks at The Assurance Group, Inc., where she began her career more than 15 years ago. Starting as a data entry clerk, Vann—now armed with a master of science in international business from UNC Greensboro’s Bryan School of Business and Economics—is currently a human resources generalist at The Assurance Group, Inc.
“I have received more respect from colleagues and supervisors as well as very positive feedback since I went through the process of earning my master’s degree,” says Vann, the mother of three children who worked full time while also attending graduate school full time. “It was challenging to balance everything. But being able to attend school online, while having the ability to go to campus to meet with professors when I had questions, was great.”
“In my job, I’m dealing with people on a day-to-day basis,” says Vann. “Having a better understanding of different people and cultures—which I gained from focusing on organizational behavior and culture in the master’s program—has helped me build a culturally diverse and accepting atmosphere in our company.”
She appreciates being able to take the knowledge she gained in class and apply it to her organization. “Having teachers at the Bryan School who are from around the world gave me insights into other ways of thinking,” she says. “That has helped me in my work in a company with employees from a variety of cultures and backgrounds.”
Vann cites the Bryan School’s X-Culture program as a highlight of her graduate school experience. Developed by Vas Taras, PhD., program director of the Bryan’s School master of science in international business program, X-Culture is an innovative, immersive learning experience during which Bryan School students collaborate on teams with students and professionals from more than 40 countries, working together on international business projects presented by international partners.
“During my first X-Culture project, I worked virtually on a team with members in Italy, China, and Uruguay, some of whom didn’t speak English very well,” says Vann. “We had to communicate in innovative ways and learned to work together to create a solution for our project.”
Vann says that experience, along with meeting her teammates in Canada for the final project, gave her skills that she brings to her job and with her workforce. “Learning about different cultures and creating these friendships was life-changing,” she says.