New opportunities dawn for Professional BBA Sunrise program graduates.

“The early bird catcheth the worm.”

First recorded in a 17th century collection of proverbs by English naturalist John Ray, this familiar saying could well apply to the 43 graduates of the 2012 Professional BBA (PBBA) Sunrise program who, in this case, caught a hard-earned graduated degree.

The PBBA Sunrise program, along with the PBBA Weekend program, is designed specifically for busy working professionals eager to advance their management and international business careers. Both of the College of Business’ PBBA programs offer an accelerated part-time option for students unable to attend traditional weekday classes.

Graduates, faculty and staff of the PBBA Sunrise program celebrated at a dinner held at the FIU Faculty Club.

Valedictorian Paul Cejas (PBBA ’12), who balances a busy career in condominium management with an equally busy family life, greatly appreciated the program’s flexibility.

“The early morning classes fit my schedule perfectly,” he said. “I really liked the fast, condensed pace of the program.”

This year’s class was the largest group to graduate from the PBBA Sunrise program so far.

Special awards presented to two outstanding students.

Award recipient Vanessa Vazquez (PBBA ’12) maintained a busy job schedule, attended to her special needs child and still managed to be a team leader and finalist in The Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge.

Vanessa Vazquez and Martin Luytjes, who teaches in the program

Vazquez appreciates the support she received from Florida International University (FIU) and her fellow students.

“Working professionals like me need guidance when it comes choosing the proper workload,” Vazquez said. “The administrators were great at recommending complementary classes that didn’t overwhelm us. The program encourages team building by asking students to work in groups. We motivated each other to ensure we each reached our goals.”

The second special student award went to Laura Maya (PBBA ’11), who, despite her physical disabilities, always arrived on time and never failed to assist her classmates. Maya graduated magna cum laude in the fall of 2011.

Circle of Excellence Award goes to favorite professor.

Special recognition went to Chris Ellis, instructor, Department of Decision Sciences and Information Systems, whom Cejas describes as “the best teacher that I have ever had at any level.”

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