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Mandy Bradbury of Mars Hill

MARS HILL, Maine — When the large department store where Mandy Bradbury worked closed its doors last summer, she decided that it was the ideal time to attend college.

“Kmart closing was the main reason I decided to come back to school,” the NMCC business administration major from Mars Hill said.

For over 20 years, Mandy was employed at Kmart in Presque Isle, where she held various positions including key carrier, human resources lead, department manager, and office personnel.

While working in retail, she enjoyed having the opportunity to interact with a variety of people and seeing how other stores functioned. She also enjoyed the teamwork involved and how every employee had different strengths that contributed to the operation of the store.

Although Mandy has a significant amount of retail experience, she feels that having a college degree will help her advance in her career. She is still contemplating what she would like to do with her degree when she graduates in May of 2018. Her current interests are in human resources, customer service, and possibly managing a business.

During her time at NMCC, she has developed an interest in accounting and is considering pursuing an accounting degree.

Mandy chose to attend community college because business administration is a two-year program. The mother of two, the course schedule and structure of the program was also more appealing than the other colleges she considered.

Mandy reports having a positive experience at NMCC. “Instructors and the staff in different offices are willing to help or point you in the right direction.”

In regards to gender in the workforce, Mandy has seen a shift in leadership over the past 20 years. “When I first started working at Kmart, all of the store managers in the district were men.” As time went on, she began to notice that more females were entering managerial roles. Within the past 10 years, approximately 80 percent of Kmart store managers in the district were female, she said. Because the company was open to hiring women for leadership positions, Mandy’s interest in a business career grew.

Mandy believes that females have strengths to contribute to the field. “Females will ask for help or advice when encountering a problem.” She also feels that women are proactive in finding resources they may need to do the job successfully.

Mandy recognizes challenges for women in business. “Certain areas are more male-dominated. If you are a female going into a male-dominated position, you may need to prove yourself more than a male going into the same position.”    

She offers advice for females considering a career in business administration. “Don’t be afraid to try it. The worse that can happen is that you are told ‘no’. Like with anything in life, if you don’t try it, then you are never going to know.”

A serious student who earned a 4.0 during her first semester at NMCC last fall, Mandy offers tips for academic success, including using your time wisely and taking advantage of down time by getting ahead in class.

“Every minute is a way to maximize your time,” she said.

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