For University of Houston-Victoria alumnae Liza Lybolt and Zhen Yan, academia always has been their goal.

Now, both UHV School of Business Administration graduates will embark on their respective journeys to get their doctoral degrees.

“Being accepted into any doctoral program is an honor for students,” said Ken Colwell, the school’s dean. “Liza and Zhen have been exceptional students with us. They are both well prepared to begin their scholarly careers.”

In 2017, Lybolt earned a UHV Global Master of Business Administration with a concentration in accounting, and in 2015, she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from the university. The Conroe resident was recognized by the school the semesters she graduated as both the outstanding undergraduate and graduate student. She recently was accepted into the Doctor of Philosophy in International Business Administration with a concentration in management program at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. After earning her degree, she would like to become a university professor.

Lybolt said getting a doctorate always was in her plans. Growing up, it was her dream to become a professor. While she was a UHV student, Lybolt was a graduate assistant for several business faculty members. She also helped with school societies and events, such as the UHV Bachelor of Business Administration Case Conference. During the past year, Lybolt worked as an adjunct professor at UHV and taught a “Principles of Management” undergraduate course.

“UHV is a terrific school,” Lybolt said. “The smaller class sizes and approachableness of faculty and staff helped me tremendously.”

Lybolt has enjoyed her time teaching. She also has started a steel doors and windows business with her brother. She said she would be thrilled to return to UHV a third time after she earns her doctorate as a faculty member.

“Academia is where I feel most at home,” she said. “I enjoy all aspects of academia, from teaching to research to service. I love getting in front of a class and sharing my knowledge with others. UHV is an excellent school under great leadership, and I have learned so much from the faculty here. Many professors here have given me advice, guidance and continued encouragement in my pursuit of a Ph.D. degree. I will forever be grateful for the support and assistance received from the faculty and staff at UHV.”

Yan graduated this spring with a Strategic Master of Business Administration with a concentration in management. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from Qingdao University in China. She recently was accepted into several doctoral programs and has decided to earn her doctorate in strategic management starting this fall at Texas Tech University.

Yan, an international student from China, said she was introduced to UHV through Jifu Wang, associate dean of the UHV business school. Yan was looking into graduate schools, and her father, who runs an international chemical product business, asked Wang for his suggestions. Both Yan and her father liked that the UHV School of Business Administration is accredited by AACSB International – The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. She moved to Katy and found a home just a few blocks away from the UHV Katy instructional site.

“As an international student, it is hard to adjust, but all the faculty members are so kind and friendly,” Yan said. “The faculty pays attention to student growth and provides opportunities to help students.”

Yan also would like to become a university professor one day. As someone who grew up with a father who is a businessman, Yan is interested in doing more research into business management and how businesses meet challenges in a dynamic, global economy. Rather than own a business, Yan would like to become a university professor and continue to research strategic management and share her knowledge with students.

“There is so much interesting research about the business world, and the way we do business can change,” Yan said. “I have a passion for business and management, and I would like to help others learn about better management techniques with the knowledge I obtain from my research.”

Wang, who taught both Lybolt and Yan, said the two women are excellent students who showcase the best of UHV.

“Both Liza and Zhen are motivated individuals who have love for their studies,” Wang said. “It is really fantastic to have such good students who want to become professors.”

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