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Alumni Spotlight

Alumna Sharlene Malcolm reflects on how her online business degrees have changed her life

Alumna Sharlene Malcolm reflects on how her online business degrees have changed her life

How has Sharlene Malcolm's life changed since earning two degrees from New England College of Business (her bachelor's in business administration in 2011 and her master's in business ethics and compliance in 2012)?

Here's how:

  • After more than 25 years in banking, she is in an executive role for the first time, working as a director of retail and business development at Canton Co-operative Bank.
  • She's earning about $18,000 more annually than she was before earning her master's.
  • She's teaching principles of management at New England College of Business.
  • She's working on her DBA in business leadership.
  • She's working on a dissertation on talent management in retail banking in the Northeast, which ties in directly to her studies at New England College of Business and her current job responsibilities.

In her role at Canton Co-operative Bank, which she started in January 2015, she writes procedures, delivers trainings and builds a foundation in compliance and business development. She loves that Canton Co-operative Bank is open to changing its strategies, rather than always sticking with what it knows.

“They open the door and say, 'Hey, Sharlene, what do you think?' and they take my advice,” she says. “I feel that I'm part of a growing organization.”

Sharlene planned to earn her bachelor's degree in the early 90s when, fresh out of high school, she got a full scholarship to pursue a degree in architecture at Wentworth Institute of Technology. But she found architecture was not a fit for her. She transferred to Suffolk and studied business, but then married and had her son. She put her education on hold temporarily and took a series of jobs in banking. However, without a bachelor's degree, she was unable to advance as far or as quickly as she would have liked.

In 2010 she put aside her fears about not having time or money to finish her degree, and enrolled at New England College of Business while employed at corporate partner Bank of America. The corporate partner program helped pay for her tuition. When she earned her master's, Sharlene realized the value of promoting her accomplishment and reached out to her network for career opportunities. That's how she found Canton Co-operative Bank.

Sharlene's family and friends occasionally ask her if she's juggling too many things, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

Online education doesn't really take anything away from your life experiences,” Sharlene says. “It adds to them.”

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