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Brooke Matson

Brooke Matson

Budgeting Her Time for Success

During the week, Brooke Matson (FlexMSBA ‘23) works as a principal budget analyst for Northrop Grumman, using data analytics to track how the aerospace and defense company spends its money to better forecast future expenses.

Of late, however, Matson’s weekends have been spent inside with classmates instead of soaking up the San Diego sun like fellow residents.

Matson is a student in UC San Diego's Rady School of Management part-time Master of Science in Business Analytics, a program that allows her to keep up with her current duties at Northrop Grumman while preparing for an even brighter future.

The program teaches students advanced business analytics and the latest methods and tools for collecting and deciphering data.

“It allowed me to balance a job I enjoy while also attending in-person classes – my preferred learning environment – in San Diego,” said Matson, who moved to San Diego from Los Angeles to attend the program. “Who wouldn’t want to spend more time in San Diego?” 

Matson has found a new level of personal discipline as she’s made her way through the FlexMSBA program. While the traditional MSBA program allows students to earn their degree in as few as 11 months, the part-time FlexMSBA program gives students the freedom to keep moving forward with their career and complete their coursework in just 17 months by attending classes on weekends.

Matson said balancing her studies with full-time employment, in which she’s responsible for an $8 million indirect budget and a $25 million capital budget, comes down to three things: Trust, routine, and self-care.

“Trust that, with enough time and practice, the foreign becomes familiar,” she said. “Make coursework and preparation a part of your routine. Take care of your body, especially your brain. Sleep well, eat well, and exercise.”

That three-pronged attack on the FlexMSBA program has led to success for Matson so far. She said she has seen immediate benefits from the program and been able to apply its lessons in her job at Northrop Grumman.

“That’s been the most exciting part,” she said. “Being able to implement it right away to experience tangible results is incredibly gratifying.”

Seeing those immediate impacts from her efforts also assists her in maintaining her motivation. Enjoying life in San Diego whenever she’s able to spare a moment doesn’t hurt either, she said.

Matson is also the second vice president of operations on the El Camino College Foundation Board. El Camino is the community college she attended, and she’s been a board member since 2018.

“I’m a passionate advocate for increasing access to higher education and have witnessed and experienced first-hand how important it is to support students,” she said. “I highly encourage my colleagues and classmates to consider supporting higher education. It can make a massive difference in someone’s life.”

Matson is looking forward to finishing the FlexMSBA program strong and using what she’s learned to boost her future job prospects. She said she’s most looking forward to the bevy of electives the program offers its students.

“The best thing it will do for me is teach me a skillset that will deliver results for years to come,” she said. “I am learning analytics skills that make me a competitive candidate for many analyst roles in the future.”