Traci Welp could teach a course on multitasking.
The Evansville native simultaneously completed the Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Engineering Management online program and the Master of Business Administration with a concentration in Data Analytics online program at the University of Southern Indiana while working full time.
Talk about doubling down. Welp also graduated with a Master of Public Administration from USI in 2016. And she is an adjunct faculty member in the MPA program. Her “lowest” GPA in the three master’s degree programs was 3.9.
“I have always taught,” she said. “My background is more in training and development and teaching in business and industry. I liked volunteering in the community and helping people, so I started off by getting an MPA.
“I fell in love with the program, and I wanted to teach. I decided to go get an MBA because it fit better with my skill set, but I found that I can use both of those degrees. That also led me to teaching at USI.”
Welp works full time as an ordering and logistics system specialist at Mazda Toyota Manufacturing, a new startup in northern Alabama. She began teaching in the MPA program in March 2020. She also sits on the Homeless Commission Board of Evansville and chairs the data taskforce committee. This position helps provide data analysis to the community so they can receive funding for projects.
“The experience that I have had at USI has been very positive,” she said. “The courses I took in the MPA program have been so helpful with my career and leadership opportunities. They’ve helped me get set up on different boards and do different projects that help provide support and a positive impact within the community.”
The flexibility of the online format helped Welp have enough time to work on school while balancing the other commitments in her busy life.
“I loved it,” she said. “I could get up early in the morning or stay up late at night and get my work done around my work schedule. It was great. Many of the professors I have had in the business department have always been kind and helpful to me — even before I did the MBAs.”
Welp started the Bachelor of Business Administration program at USI after she graduated from high school, but she completed her degree at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. She began her professional career as a computer software trainer in Texas before moving home and working as an independent consultant.
“After staying home with our four children, teaching part-time for many years and volunteering in the community, I decided to go back to work full time in 2009,” she said. “I knew I enjoyed helping people in the community, so I thought that I would pursue nonprofit administration. I ended up sitting on boards and helping in that way. Because of my business background, I ended up in the manufacturing industry.”
Five months before completing the MBA with a Concentration in Data Analytics online program in June 2020, Welp landed her current position. She began teaching at USI the following month.
“Earning the MBAs has also led me to this Mazda Toyota startup company,” she said. “The MBA program has helped me with my knowledge in supply chain and data analytics. Mazda Toyota has hired me to stand up their local database tools, develop new databases and build data analytic tools to help with making good business decisions for the company. I am also getting to apply the skills I have learned in the MBA by teaching others how to build local tools and how to tell a story with data by designing dashboards for data visualization.”
The three courses in the Data Analytics specialization — BAN 601: Applied Business Analytics, BAN 602: Data Driven Decision Making and BAN 603: Information Visualization and Dashboarding — were Welp’s favorites in the MBA programs.
“I do a lot of data management at work,” she said. “Analyzing data and telling a story with data is a skill that is missing a lot of times in the workforce or on boards. It’s difficult to visualize and explain information. You can make a business decision more quickly if you understand the data and know how to explain it.”
On the Dashboard
Welp is able to multitask with a little help from her family — her husband, Steve, and their children, Alexandria (25), Morgan (23), Zachary (20) and Kiersten (17).
“My family has been supportive throughout my time in college,” she said. “My husband has been especially great. I walked in the commencement ceremonies for both the MPA and the first MBA, which was a fun and memorable experience.”
Education is big in the Welp family. Alexandria graduated with a degree in business from Indiana University, and Morgan holds a chemical engineering degree from the University of Kentucky.
Zachary is studying supply chain management at Purdue University, while Kiersten is a senior at Mater Dei High School and plans to pursue chemical engineering. Now that Welp has three master’s degrees from USI, her career options are as limitless as her energy.
“I would like to teach full time,” she said. “Right now, I like using the business industry knowledge I have and putting it together to help students as an adjunct professor. I love learning, teaching and leading others toward success — that’s the key and where my heart is.”
Welp knows the importance of choosing the best degree to pursue — especially after completing two MBA programs with different concentrations.
“It’s key to look at your background and focus on what you like to do,” she said. “I liked supply chain and data analytics. That’s my background, so I focused on that. I know some people have a human resources background, so they got an MBA in HR.
“Going back to school to gain more knowledge is a great way to sharpen your skills and then apply them to your profession. You are, more likely, wiser and can better understand what you’re learning in the classroom because of work experience. That’s important to remember. [MBA program director] Dr. Jack Smothers leads a great program. I have had a wonderful experience all around at USI, and I highly recommend the program to others.”
Learn more about USI’s online MBA programs.