Online MBA Allows Professional Athlete to Study and Compete
By Mia Gleason
As a member of a professional women’s soccer team, Celia Jimenez Delgado spends lots of time training, traveling, and competing. However, the Orlando Pride’s right-back still makes her graduate business education a priority.
“The WSU online MBA program was the perfect fit for my lifestyle as a professional athlete, allowing me to manage my time and workload while continuing my education,” says Delgado, who will graduate this spring. “The program’s class recordings and deadlines provided me with the flexibility to travel with my team to any country or time zone in the US, Australia, or Europe.”
Delgado says she’s already using what she’s learned in her MBA studies to strengthen her professional brand as an athlete. The degree will also give her options as she explores potential careers in the corporate world.
“I highly recommend the Carson College program,” she says. “Accessing this opportunity from your home or any time zone in the world is a privilege.”
”With an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering and her career choice as a professional soccer player for the Orlando Pride, Celia is a role model for young women around the world,” says Dipra Jha, assistant director of the School of Hospitality Business Management. “Her commitment to pursue an MBA with the Carson College demonstrates her drive to accomplish professional success beyond what she has already achieved. She really stands out as a student and as an individual.”
A passion for professional sports
Delgado says sports have been the engine of her life. Her passion for soccer developed during her growing up years in southern Spain, but there weren’t opportunities for her to compete at an elite level.
“My family taught my sister and me to never limit ourselves, and that we were responsible for creating our own history,” she says.
When she was 15, Delgado left her family to play competitive soccer while she finished high school. She later played soccer at the University of Alabama, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering.
She spent four years with the Seattle Reign, another professional women’s soccer team, before she joined the Orlando Pride last year. Delgado also represented Spain’s national women’s team in two Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cups.
“That move from my family, that leap of faith to follow my dreams to play competitive soccer while getting my degree, led me to where I am today,” she says.
In addition to sports, Delgado says she was always curious and loved problem-solving. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she wanted to continue her education with an MBA to expand her career options when she retires from professional sports.
“During my undergraduate studies, I enjoyed understanding procedures as well as learning how to create new solutions that improved today’s world,” she says.
Finding the right fit in a graduate program
Through soccer, Delgado has been able to experience and live in many countries, which she feels has enriched her both personally and professionally. She balances her rigorous schedule as a professional athlete with her MBA studies by practicing time management and accountability.
The online format of WSU’s MBA program allowed her to connect with people from all over the world, providing opportunities to continue gaining diverse experiences. Her business studies have also enhanced how she interacts with her teammates.
“The MBA program taught me to view every decision and action through a business lens, leading me to think of myself as a brand and consider the value I bring to my work,” she says. “I started to ask myself: What do I want to convey to my team and work environment? How could my decisions be more effective and strategic? How could I design more profitable plans?”
Plans after graduation
Following her May graduation, Delgado says she is considering two possible scenarios. One path is to continue her education with a doctorate to further her skills and knowledge. The other one is to join a STEM-focused company.
“I have always been passionate about the role that technology and innovation can play in improving people’s lives,” she says. “Joining a STEM company would give me the opportunity to contribute to this mission. I hope to contribute my unique experiences and perspectives to any team I work with.”