June 15, 2012
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Nearly four years ago, Jay and Pamela Soria walked as newly weds down the aisle of the glittering St. Francis of Assisi chapel at Riverside’s Mission Inn. This Sunday they will march down a grassy aisle on La Sierra University’s Founder’s Green as Master of Business Administration graduates, a milestone completed toward achieving goals they have set as a couple.
The Sorias met in 2003. Pamela Soria was a freshman at La Sierra after emigrating from Brazil, and Jay Soria, a Riverside native, was working as a substitute teacher. Jay Soria graduated from La Sierra in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in communications. The couple wants to live the American dream and they figure the best way to get there is through higher education and with an MBA degree specifically.
After discussing their ambitions they decided two years ago to enroll in a graduate business program together. The couple lives in West Los Angeles and since La Sierra’s Zapara School of Business operates an off-campus graduate program in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, the husband-and-wife team enrolled with their alma mater. “We started at the same time,” said Jay Soria. “It became our little family project. We wanted to give ourselves the best shot at being successful and so we decided to invest in our education.”
The couple took weekly, four-hour classes together for two years, driving every Wednesday evening to the Glendale Adventist Medical Center where they studied leadership, marketing, accounting, finance management, business law, entrepreneurship and other courses in the hospital’s executive boardroom.
For group projects they asked to be in the same group and worked on assignments together, combining Jay’s writing talents with Pamela’s PowerPoint presentation skills. “We work very well together. We are a good team,” Jay Soria said.
Jay works as a sales representative for computer giant Apple and wants to move up in the business world to an executive position. He is currently applying for new positions through business connections. Pamela Soria, a native of Goiania, Brazil, aims to open her own clothing store and sell fashions imported from her trend-setting homeland. She currently works as a sales representative for fashion clothing and shoes retailer Gregory’s in Beverly Hills. She is saving money to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. “I love clothes and styling outfits,” said Pamela.
“I think she’s really good at that,” added Jay. “She loves fashion” and pays attention to fashion trends, predicting which Brazilian designs might become popular in the United States, he said.
While living in Brazil, Pamela learned about La Sierra University through a family friend. In July 2003 she met with a Brazilian enrollment recruiter during the recruiter’s outreach trip to Rio de Janeiro and arrived on La Sierra’s campus three months later. Far away from family and friends, Pamela was relieved to discover the receptionist at her dorm was also from Brazil and spoke Portuguese, the language of her country.
As it turned out, the receptionist was also a friend of Jay Soria’s and introduced the pair a month later. It was love at first sight, the couple said. Jay had spent three years of his childhood in Recife, Brazil where his father served as a Seventh-day Adventist missionary pastor. While there, Jay learned Portuguese, a skill that proved fortuitous years later when he impressed his future wife with his ability to communicate with her.
Pamela Soria took three months of English as a Second Language courses at La Sierra and graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts in management. She and her husband value their La Sierra University experience and the friendships forged while students. “We like La Sierra because we get to experience college in a Christian environment,” said Jay. “College is fun. I wish life was like college.”
The Sorias will celebrate their fourth wedding anniversary on July 27. In the mean time, they will continue pursing their dreams with their newly minted degrees. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek article, they have effectively increased their chances for success. According the article published last December, the hiring outlook this year for MBA graduates is positive. The story cites a Graduate Management Admission Council survey of corporate recruiters which states that 74 percent of employers polled intend to hire at least one MBA in 2012, an increase from 58 percent in 2011, the article says.
For the Sorias it’s all about planning. “We always talk about our future as a family,” said Jay. “We now feel more confident going to employers and telling them that we have an MBA from La Sierra University. Going back to school isn’t cheap. We had to take out loans. But if we get better jobs creating more income for the family as a return on our investment, then it will be worth the sacrifice.”
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University