UOnline Alumni Collage 2

’Canes find success through UOnline programs

By UMAA

’Canes find success through UOnline programs

By UMAA
From an accountant in Haiti to a social responsibility manager for the Miami Heat, meet some of the alumni who have found success through the University of Miami UOnline programs.
  • Vanessa Bastien Joseph - UOnline Master of Professional Accounting

    Despite the start of a global pandemic and ongoing unrest in her native Haiti, Vanessa Bastien Joseph persevered and completed the University of Miami’s UOnline Master of Professional Accounting program. "My goal was to finish," she said. "And I did. I completed the program in May 2020."

    Although she was born in Miami, Florida, Bastien Joseph spent most of her childhood in Haiti. When socio-political oppression forced the family to leave the country, she returned to Miami at the age of 13. She earned a bachelor’s degree in French with a concentration in business administration and found her way to banking at J.P. Morgan Chase.   

    In 2011, Bastien Joseph moved back to Haiti as the country seemed stable again. After working as a loan officer for two private banks, she joined the Fonds de Developpement Industriel (FDI), a specialized financial division of Haiti's central bank, where she found herself moving more towards accounting.

    “My job involves a lot of research, because I have to be able to compare two companies in the same sector to know why one is succeeding and the other is not,” she said. “But my favorite part is dealing with numbers and trying to find what makes them add up or not. When it comes to numbers, it clicks for me.”

    Although she had earned an M.B.A. online, she felt she needed something more to further her career.

    The UOnline Master of Professional Accounting was the perfect solution. She could develop new skills while fulfilling a lifelong dream of becoming a ’Cane – all without leaving Haiti.

    Just a month after beginning the UOnline program, Haiti was on lockdown for over 15 days. In addition to the global pandemic, the country endured protests and socio-political turmoil throughout the year. Bastien Joseph experienced limited electricity, unreliable wi-fi, and flooding, but was able to continue, thanks in large part to the flexibility of the program.

    "The courses do not have specific meeting times, so I was able to go in and do the work as needed. The faculty also really understood the fact that I was in a country where I might have disruptions that could prevent me from turning in assignments on time," she said. "And the way the UOnline courses were built provided engagement between my classmates and me, which helped me build relationships for support."

    The experience taught her how to manage her time better, but more importantly, it enabled her to advance in her career. As Assistant Director and Project Manager at FDI, she was integrated into a special follow-up unit, which looks into clients' financial statements to identify problems and ways they can restructure their businesses to pay off their debts.

    "Being a part of that team has been a tremendous honor," said Bastien Joseph. "And it's all because I completed the UOnline Master of Professional Accounting from the U, which gave me the skills necessary to do a deeper analysis of financial statements."

    Bastien Joseph now hopes to take her CPA exams and the Haitian equivalent to become a certified public accountant.

    Learn more about the UOnline Master of Professional Accounting here.

  • Erick Torres - UOnline Master of Education in Sport Administration

    As the social responsibility manager for the Miami Heat, Erick Torres oversees part of the front-facing charitable arm of the organization. His team organizes events and supports programs that benefit the local South Florida community and works with companies to promote community-driven causes while leveraging the rapport that the Miami Heat has with its fan-base.

    As a basketball fan who grew up in Miami and is now entering his ninth season working with the Miami Heat, Torres is fulfilling his dream in his role. But finding and succeeding at his dream job came from forging his own path - and a little push from the University of Miami.

    “I wanted to gain professional growth, but it was also personal. I wanted to be a good example for my siblings," he said. "When I was younger, it was something I never thought I’d be able to do, but with hard work and by finding my own resources, I was able to do it.”

    After gathering experience in various places, from nonprofits to magazines, and sending countless resumes to sports teams in cities where he wanted to work, Torres landed his first professional role in the sport industry with the New York Mets in New York.

    When he returned to Miami, he worked in public relations for the University of Miami’s men’s basketball team before earning an opportunity to intern with the Miami Heat. Five months into his internship, he was offered a full-time job.

    Getting there was one thing but growing and improving was another. The UOnline Master of Education in Sport Administration program provided enough flexibility to accommodate his late hours during the NBA season and enabled him to apply what he was learning throughout the course of the program to his job. 

    “A lot of the things we would write and read about were things that I was being exposed to every day in my job,” said Torres. “I was able to understand it better and develop my skills in real-time.” Torres also appreciated that the program encouraged creativity, a community among peers and professors, and students’ feedback and personal experiences.

    “I’m the kind of person that improves with conversational momentum and having a chance to speak,” he shared. “When you’re relatively new to a job, it can be hard to have those opportunities. The video submissions we needed to do as part of the class gave me that opportunity to speak up. They helped sharpen and practice the skills I was learning in my textbooks and build confidence in myself and my abilities.”

    To learn more about the UOnline Master of Education in Sport Administration, click here.