Saints of Santa Fe College – Chris Alford

Santa Fe College graduate in Organizational Management Chris Alfred poses for a photo for the Saints of Santa Fe College series on April 16, 2021.

I started working retail right out of high school and worked my way up to management. When I left that store, I realized that I had the experience for a top position outside of retail. But without a degree, my job opportunities would be limited.

I was in my mid-30s when I decided to go back to college. I learned about the Finish at the Top program at Santa Fe, which offered me some scholarship money to finish my A.A. I thought, “if not now, when?” I decided to go for my bachelor’s. I continued at SF for my bachelor’s in Organizational Management and took advantage of the online and hybrid class options to complete my degree while working full time.

My Organizational Management classwork immediately began paying dividends in my job at the time. I was able to apply what I was learning into my job – things like organizational structure and cost analysis. It was extremely beneficial and important for me.

I completed my bachelor’s degree in 2019 and was encouraged by the faculty at SF to apply for my MBA at UF. I got in!

The MBA orientation at UF was eye-opening because I’m in this cohort of roughly 50 students, with people from very prestigious universities and lots of people from the service academies. I kind of felt out of place. It didn’t take long to figure out that we were all in the same boat rowing in the same direction, all working towards the same goal. I felt very prepared for the program because the curriculum mirrored what I was learning at Santa Fe almost exactly, with the exception that a lot of it was much more in-depth. I had a basic foundation that was critical to my success. I credit Santa Fe College for that. I didn’t feel out of place for very long.

Santa Fe has an outstanding business program. The curriculum will prepare you for Graduate School. It’s an extremely well-run and well-orchestrated program that prepared me immensely for graduate school.

By finishing my degrees, I’m trying to set an example for my kids to help them realize that your first crack at a goal may not necessarily be a success, but if you’re dedicated and you keep going, eventually, you’ll get there.

– Chris Alford

B.A.S. in Organizational Management, SF ’19, MBA, UF ’21