CoBE alum lands dream job using Econ, Communication, and English skills

Thursday, March 25, 2021, 5:00am by

Seth Master graduated in December with honors with degrees in Economics and Communication and a certificate in Creative Writing.  These qualifications opened many different career paths to him, but he had a very specific goal.  He wanted to stay on Hawaii Island and use his education to help uplift families and community.

Master took a position as Employment Counselor for Goodwill Hawaii. Goodwill Hawaii is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charity that helps people with employment barriers to reach their full potential and become self-sufficient.

“This position allows me to interact personally with clients and connect them to the help they need,” he says. This help can be skill-building, tuition assistance, job search support, help with acculturation, or other types of career-related assistance. “I get to use my experience from UH Hilo being the most culturally diverse university to my advantage as I interact with people from all over the world.”

Master says all three areas of study have come into play in his new position.

“I am thankful for my econ professors who helped me understand the flow and nature of money as I now counsel members of our society who are hurting,” he says, “and for the communication department for equipping me to communicate inter-culturally and effectively. My English professors will be proud to hear that I write  and personalized employment plans for families, in addition to completing tons of paperwork!”

For those still in school, Master advises focusing on the big picture, and looking outward and forward:

“Keep your heads up in the trying time of continued online class work. It won’t be like this forever. Find out what you can do to take steps towards a better tomorrow now and then take those steps! Be the leaders and the creative minds Hawaii deserves and let’s build up our local economy!”

Goodwill Hawaii’s employment services are available free of charge to eligible families.

CoBE Alum Leads March 8 Financial Literacy Workshop

Wednesday, March 3, 2021, 3:24am by

Ran Annim! Iokwe! Alii! Kaselehlie! Hafa Adai! Mogethin! Len wo! Talofa! Mālō e lelei! Bula! Kia ora! Ia orana! Halo! Fakaalofa lahi atu! Aloha!


Have you thought about making a budget or setting financial goals, but you are not sure where to start? College of Business and Economics alumna Siniva Pota  (BBA, MBA) will lead a free online workshop on financial literacy on March 8, at 5pm Hawai’i time. Learn how to budget, save, and make the most of your money for you and your family. In honor of International Women’s Day in Hawai’i and the Pacific. Sponsored by Pacific Island student clubs including Kuikapiko Anthropology club, T.O.S Samoan club, and Ngelekel Belau club. Open to all who are interested.



For one CoBE grad, BBA in Healthcare Management is a springboard to the nursing program

Tuesday, January 19, 2021, 1:22am by

Chaden Shimaoka-Bello is a barista at Starbucks, a student office worker for the College of Business and Economics, and a Business Administration student with a concentration in Health Care Management. And as of fall, 2021, he will be enrolled in UH Hilo’s highly competitive Bachelors of Science in Nursing.

Why choose healthcare management instead of the traditional pre-nursing curriculum?

My introduction to CoBE was through my fellow classmates in my sophomore year. I started to take courses under my pre-nursing elective requirements and that’s when I started meeting people that were already in CoBE taking the same health elective courses for their Health Care Management requirements. My friends who were in the college of business would always talk highly of the faculty and coursework. They also shared how valuable a business background is and how prevalent business is in the world today.

I knew that having a background in business could allow me to look a lot more hirable and overall just a well-rounded and knowledgeable candidate in my future field of work.

Has your education affected your perspective on the pandemic?

With a background in business and health you are able to see exactly how things are interconnected and work. You begin to notice all the disparities that small rural communities face. With smaller and less advanced facilities in Hawaii, especially on outer islands, and with a huge blow to economies everywhere, Hawaii had to prepare for the worst. Our hospitals and local health facilities would be completely overrun and that to me was the worst scariest outcome that we could have faced, too many patients and not enough room or workers to treat these people.

Once travel is safe, would you recommend students get involved in study abroad?

If you have the opportunity to study abroad, and I cannot stress enough, you should go for it! Studying abroad helped me grow so much into who I am and helped me to understand who I wanted to be in this world. Experiencing other places and cultures and seeing things that you’ve only ever heard about really changes you and expands your horizons. If you are unsure of your career path studying abroad might just help you figure out exactly what you want to do. So many great opportunities lie in even the most seemingly mundane places!

What are your career plans?

Now that I have been accepted into nursing school I want to throw myself into the coursework and clinical practice. Once I graduate with my Bachelors of Science in Nursing and Bachelor’s in Business Administration Healthcare Management, I plan on developing a career and connections within my local community. When I am ready, I plan on going to graduate school and becoming an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, but I am now really just looking forward to what life has in store for me in the next two years.

Find out more about the Health Care Management BBA HERE

New CoBE Executive Programs starting January 11

Wednesday, December 23, 2020, 5:02am by

College of Business and Economics


Executive Education

The College of Business and Economics is now offering Executive Education. Our mission is to bring world-class knowledge and coaching to Hawaii Island, and to disseminate it to the world. Our online courses provide an opportunity for international networking and relationship-building.

Develop foresight in an uncertain world

Increase your organization’s productivity, creativity, and profitability

Enhance your leaders’ skills and your own

Upcoming Sessions

Real Estate Investment

January 11-May 14 Thursdays, 5:00-7:30 pm
Kelly Moran, Certified Commercial Investment Member and Certified International Property Specialist, brings together real estate experts to discuss legal, physical, and economic aspects of real estate and investment. The course will cover valuation, market analysis, and the role of public and private externalities affecting the allocation and utilization of real estate resources. This is a COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) course and provides interactive, virtual, international engagement in a structured setting. You will engage with participants from around the world, work on intercultural teams and collaborate on real world projects. This course intends to stimulate interest in real estate from a global perspective.
This course is online. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion.

Career Exploration in Management

May 24-June 18 Tuesdays 12:30-2:00
This course introduces participants to various management-level positions in fields like retail, technology, distribution, finance, and consulting. Students will hear from expert guest lecturers. Topics include management and technology, various management styles, the necessary skills executives possess, and more.
This course is online. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion.

Digital Transformation: Business Development and Marketing

June 21-July 30 Weekdays 6:00-7:30pm
This course is designed to help business leaders understand how digital technologies integrate with valued processes and methods of business development. Participants will understand the benefits and difficulties of different technological developments, how to leverage these opportunities, and the common issues that occur when trying to implement developments in realistic workplace circumstances. This course will familiarize students with specific technologies and understand technology from a strategic standpoint.
This course is online. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion.

Register now

call 808.932.7272 Monday through Friday between 8:00 and 4:30 or email

From CoBE intern to data analytics executive

Thursday, December 17, 2020, 5:57am by

CoBE alum Aaron Geerlings originally planned to spend just a year or two in Hilo. After spending a few summers of his childhood with his grandparents in Hilo, he figured it would be a nice place to visit and get some college credits. But he liked UH Hilo enough to stay, and in his senior year he took on an internship that would shape his career.

An internship with Kelly Moran led to working for him as a property manager and sales assistant after his 2009 graduation. It struck him that commercial real estate was very different from the emotion-driven retail side, he says.

Commercial real estate is all about the numbers, folks approach it totally differently. It’s not about the looks, or the neighborhood or if it has granite countertops, it’s just what is my buying cost and what will this asset generate for me. It can all be boiled down to a spreadsheet.

In 2013, Geerlings left Hawaii for a startup in Baltimore. He recalls,

This complete gamble of taking a chance with this startup led me to the opportunity of working as a data analyst. Luckily for me the startup ended up doing very well before being acquired by Groupon. I had a few different positions in Data warehousing, analytics and Business intelligence before landing my current position.

Geerlings is now the Director of Data Warehouse and Analytics at a Baltimore-based marketing firm. He manages a team of Data Engineers, Data Analysts and Business Intelligence analysts. What has he learned that might be helpful for today’s CoBE students?

When you are working in a company you have to learn how to work with others. If someone is not doing their work you have to figure out how to help them out so they can deliver what you need to get it done.

Learn how to use Excel. It is still the #1 analysis tool used today. Learning Excel was a huge deal, it launched my data career.

Critical thinking skills are really difficult to teach and can be difficult to quantify, but are incredibly valuable in the workplace.

Geerlings appreciates the mentorship he received, and believes in giving back. CoBE students are invited to connect on LinkedIn with questions about resumes, Data Analytics, or working in startups.

And despite his busy work schedule, Geerlings takes time for himself.

I still ride my motorcycle whenever I can. I really miss riding the Big Island though, nothing beats riding over the saddle watching Mauna Kea break through the clouds.

Former L.A. Dodger Onan Masaoka finds fulfillment in faith, family, and service to others

Wednesday, December 9, 2020, 12:21am by

Onan Masaoka has seen more of the world before age 25 than many of us do in a lifetime.

Masaoka graduated from Waiakea High School in 1995, and in the same year the young left-hander was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He pitched in 83 games for the Dodgers between 1999 and 2000. During his baseball career he traveled to Japan, stayed in world-class hotels, flew on private jets, pitched against Barry Bonds, and met legendary Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax.

Upon his retirement in 2002, at the age of 24, Masaoka enrolled in the College of Business and Economics at UH Hilo.

“After being away for my baseball career and traveling a lot, I had a desire to be at home,” Masaoka says. “I knew that UH Hilo had good programs and the teacher/student ratio was in my favor.”

Masaoka decided to study business because of its practicality and application to daily life. Starting school again after being out for a few years felt like a whole new challenge, but Masaoka hit his stride quickly.

“Once I began the first semester, I felt myself growing more confident in thinking that I could learn to enjoy this college life and attain a degree in the process,” he says.  Unexpectedly, he found that his favorite subjects were math and accounting. “Which is a little funny since I struggled the most with math in high school.  However, I found that by following the process or rules of these two subjects you usually end up with the right answer.”

Masaoka’s college career was a success. He made the Dean’s List every year, and graduated with honors. His advice to current students:

“Go to your classes (or nowadays, log in to your classes).  Take good notes and review your notes before the end of the day.  Don’t procrastinate. Start early and take small steps.”

Today, Masaoka is a program director with Hawaii County’s Elderly Recreation division, helping kupuna pursue lifelong learning and fitness. During the pandemic he finds joy in his family (wife Christy, and daughters Layla and Joelle) and grounding in his faith in God, “knowing that nothing is out of His control.”

Having seen so much of the world, Masaoka believes that Hawaii Island holds work and education opportunities for those who apply themselves. But for island residents who are feeling restless, he advises,

“If you do have the opportunity to leave the islands, take it.  It will always be here when you get back with a broader view of the world.”

File under Business Majors can do Anything: CoBE accounting alumna enrolls in top medical school

Thursday, October 29, 2020, 12:12am by

Raisa Ancheta (formerly Raisa Evora) earned her BBA from CoBE and started as a Senior Accountant at a brokerage firm in the Bay Area. Then she completed a second Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2018 with a 4.0 (Summa Cum Laude).

Now she is headed to the UC Irvine School of Medicine, a top-50 medical school that accepts under 2% of applicants each year.

How did she move from accounting to medical school? A long commute, an unexpected move, and a lifelong interest in science:

I was fortunate to work in one of the greatest work environments as a senior accountant. However, I found myself constantly reading science textbooks on my commute to work. I, unfortunately, had to leave my job in the Bay Area when my husband was deployed and stationed in Wisconsin. I took advantage of my new freedom during this time of transition to pursue a passion for science that I had developed. Furthermore, I realized that I could not only have tremendous fun working in a field that I love, but I also had the advantage of understanding the management/accounting/marketing related aspects of business which is an integral part of the health care system.

Her business background and her experience at CoBE made her uniquely prepared for her studies in life sciences and medicine.

I do not think I could have succeeded this way had it not been for the strong foundation I received at University of Hawaii at Hilo. All my professors and mentors at UHH were beyond kind and encouraging. They offered me so many opportunities to shine academically and made me feel like I could succeed in anything I set my mind towards.

Raisa notes that the support of her family has been central to her success.

I am also grateful for the support of all my family on the Big Island of Hawai’i. My mother, Sunday Leimomi Nelson, M.Ed, has been an especially empowering influence on my decision to become a medical student. She advocated for children and families of East Hawai’i in the pursuit of mental health parity. Now, in the dissertation phase of her Doctorate of Education in Organizational Leadership with a focus on Mental Health, she demonstrates a life-long love of learning at any age. Her commitment to learning and the support I had from the UHH faculty inspired me to combine my business background, my love of science, and my desire to help others into a career in medicine.

Raisa lives in California with her husband, two daughters, and two sons.

CoBE and Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce team up to offer Virtual Reverse Career Fair

Monday, October 26, 2020, 5:27am by

A Virtual Reverse Career Fair flips the table on a typical career fair – Students have an opportunity to showcase their achievements and talents to potential employers virtually via a pre-recorded 5 minute video.


Your submission packet will include your resume so interested employers are able to contact you for an interview or further questions. Register here.


This is your opportunity to review some remarkable prospective job and/or internship applicants being produced by the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. The Chamber Young Professionals Program has partnered with UH Hilo to present this Virtual Reverse Career Fair. Click here to register to receive access to a Google Drive folder which will include 5-minute videos of the students creatively marketing themselves and their skills. You will also be able to download their resumes.

Who may participate

All interested students and alumni from all colleges are welcome to participate in this event. The submissions will be organized for viewing by colleges and career interests. Job-seekers have until 11:59 pm, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020 to submit their video and resume. The entries will go “live” and be accessible to employers starting Thursday, Nov. 19 at 12:00 noon. For students, the $35 registration fee includes a one-year student membership in the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce, which includes access to the HICC Young Professionals networking events. Alumni who register for the Virtual Reverse Career Fair and submit their videos, resumes, and registration fees are eligible to apply for a Chamber Individual Membership at a one-time only discounted annual rate of $100, a savings of $50 off the regular rate.

The Chamber has provided tips for making the best possible impression.

For more information, contact the Hawai‘i Island Chamber of Commerce office at 808-935-7178 or email or CoBE students and alumni may contact Helen Tien at

Thropp scholarship assists as Covid hits

Saturday, August 1, 2020, 6:19pm by

Last year, the College of Business & Economics received a scholarship endowment from the estate of James P.D. Thropp, Jr.


College of Business and Economics Announces 2020 Beta Gamma Sigma Inductees

Wednesday, June 3, 2020, 3:44am by


Beta Gamma Sigma, the premier business honor society, has inducted six  students from the College of Business and Economics. Membership in BGS is among the highest honors a student in a school of business can achieve.

CoBE faculty have a tradition of individually sponsoring students and covering students’ one-time membership and initiation costs.

Our 2020 Beta Gamma Sigma inductees are


Founded in 1913, Beta Gamma Sigma honors top performing students from business schools accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). BGS is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies (ACHS).