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Q&A with, MS-ECON Alumna, Kristi Birchfield

Q&A with, MS-ECON Alumna, Kristi Birchfield

Meet Kristi Birchfield, a West Virginia native and an online MS Econ graduate of the Chambers College. 

Originally from Jonben, West Virginia – a small coal town in Raleigh County – Birchfield headed to Midway University in Kentucky for college where she received her undergraduate degree in business administration. 

However, considering a lack of jobs in her area, she felt a masters in Econ would allow her to apply to opportunities in multiple industries due to its versatility. 

After graduating with her masters in 2021, she is now a proud West Virginia University business alumna.

Learn more about Birchfield and her experience with our Master's of Science in Economics program

Q:   Why did you choose the online MS Economics graduate program at WVU?

A: When considering a lack of jobs in my area, I felt the Econ degree would allow me to apply to opportunities in multiple industries because of its versatility. The opportunity to analyze data and learn R ( open-source programming language specifically designed for statistical programming)  was exciting for me also, as I felt I needed those types of skills to compete in the job market. I enjoy numbers and problem-solving, so the MS Econ program seemed like a perfect fit for me. Also, as a mother, being able to complete a degree online from from a reputable school such as West Virginia University was a huge selling point for me. 

Q: How was your experience learning online? 

A: I was nervous about attending courses online and also being an older student, but it was an awesome experience. T he faculty was extremely supportive, organized and personable. T he professors and their coursework push you to think critically.

Dr. Hall (Dean Josh Hall) is an amazing person. I had doubts about my ability to complete the program, but he always encouraged me. His acceptance of me into this program was life changing.

Q: What experiential learning opportunities have you had in the College that have changed the way that you think about business and how it is applied in the real world?  

A: The program was heavily focused on data gathering and analysis. It changed the way I approach problems and decisions because I learned in the program that the data will often surprise you.

Q: Did your graduate degree help you rise in your career? 

A: Most definitely. Being in southern West Virginia is tough as far as job availability, but after completing the degree, I was offered multiple well-paying jobs. 

Completing this degree program from WVU was a game changer for my career. It was the single most important decision I've made for my career. The job hunt changed in a positive way for me immediately after enrolling into the program. 

Today, I am the Business Development and Marketing Manager for a third-party logistics company. 

Q: What advice would you have for a student thinking about the online MS Economics program? 

A: This program offers a collaborative and supportive environment. Don't worry if you feel a bit rusty, as I did at first. The professors at the Chambers College will help you along. 

Q: How do you hope to change the future of business? 

A: I had the opportunity to learn a modern approach to business problems. I feel I have an opportunity to share what I've learned to impact the way business is done to empower people, improve processes and create more value. 

Q: What is your favorite WVU tradition that you now carry with you?

A: Singing "Country Roads". It's a beautiful tribute to our state. 

Learn more about our online MS Econ program or apply today.


SH 03/31/23

CONTACT: Shelby Hudnall 
Marketing Specialist
John Chambers College of Business and Economics 

Chambers College