MBA Program is Just the Beginning for Seasoned Accounting Pro

Written byZachary Schleter

“Don’t just do your homework and take your tests. Network and connect with as many classmates as you can. It really can be so enjoyable and exciting.” 

Rhonda Delasbour
Graduation Year
Franklin, La.

Some empty nesters use their free time to pick up new hobbies. 

Others take the time to travel. 

But when Rhonda Delasbour’s youngest child graduated from high school and joined the Marine Corps, she had one thing at the top of her to-do list: earn an MBA degree. 

“This had been a goal since I graduated college,” Delasbour says. “For the first time in my life, I could do something for me.” 

The Acadiana native knew she wanted to earn her degree locally, but as a working professional, she also needed flexibility. The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s MBA program online was the perfect fit. 

At 44 years young, Delasbour walked across the stage in May 2024 to accept her MBA degree. And her career is just beginning. 

Involvement in the MBA Program 

For Delasbour, earning an MBA was just as much a networking opportunity as it was a learning experience. 

Living close to campus gave her the unique opportunity to be involved with a variety of student organizations, including the University’s MBA Association and its Society for Human Resource Management

“If felt good to be a local student,” she says. “I was able to do the same thing as on-campus students and participate in all the activities like I was any regular student. I felt like a kid again.” 

She used that opportunity to help other online students get involved, too. 

As an active member of the MBA Association, she noticed a disconnect between on-campus and online MBA students. So, she brought her concerns to the organization’s board. 

In response, the board created a new position specifically responsible for online student outreach. 

Delasbour served as the inaugural online coordinator in her final semester. 

“I did a lot of networking in my classes,” she recalls. “When I got this position, I went through emails and GroupMe chats to find online students and reach out to say, ‘Hey, this organization isn’t just for on-campus students. You can come to in-person events if you live locally or participate in the Zoom events.’” 

Delasbour also climbed the ranks within the Society for Human Resource Management, progressing from treasurer to vice president to president in her final year. She was the first online student to become president of the organization. 

“I felt proud that other students in their 20s voted me into these leadership positions,” she says. “I didn’t feel or act any type of way just because I was 44. I really tried to relate to everyone I met.” 

Rhonda Delasbour attends a crawfish boil hosted by the University's MBA Association.
Rhonda Delasbour, far right, attends a crawfish boil hosted by the University's MBA Association.

Career Growth 

That ability to relate to other people, combined with the confidence she gained through her online MBA courses, earned Delasbour a promotion at work just one year into the program. 

In addition to her role as an assistant controller for an ice equipment distributor based in Lafayette, she now serves as a trainer, traveling to the company’s six branches throughout the southern United States to help onboard new employees. 

“I used to be timid and quiet, but this program made me improve my leadership and presentation skills,” Delasbour says. “My company saw me grow as a leader, and they gave me this promotion after a year in the program.” 

The MBA program’s coursework provided Delasbour with new business knowledge, too. 

Though her undergraduate degree was in accounting and finance, taking graduate-level accounting courses helped her better understand the principles behind what she does. 

“These days, everything is done with a computer, and you really just need to know the basics and type in the numbers,” she says. “The accounting class I took made me learn what to do without software. I’ve been an accountant since 2003, but that class challenged me the most.” 

The Next Steps 

With an MBA degree and newfound confidence, Delasbour is ready to see where her career goes. 

Since starting at her current company in 2008, she’s worked her way up from accounting clerk to accounting manager to assistant controller. Her ultimate goal: to become the company’s controller, or chief financial officer. 

“Our CFO right now, he’s my mentor,” Delasbour says. “I needed that extra push, that extra experience, that extra education from the MBA program to even think about putting myself in that role.” 

“I don’t plan on leaving my job, but I know I’m capable now of taking any job that comes my way. This program made me have more confidence in myself. I’ve really enjoyed my last two years.” 

Inspired by her own journey, Delasbour encourages her peers in the MBA program online to push beyond their comfort zones, just as she did. 

“Everyone I met during the MBA program was so accepting,” Delasbour says. “We all had one main goal — to get to the end — and nobody cared how old you were or what your concentration was.” 

“Don’t just do your homework and take your tests. Network and connect with as many classmates as you can. It really can be so enjoyable and exciting.”

Grow your network while gaining valuable business knowledge in the University’s MBA program online. 

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