Why this VP of Banking went to college as an adult (and might go back again)

Pam Austin already established her career when she enrolled at Bethel College, but she knew a degree would help take her further. (Photo Supplied/Pamela Austin)

By: Bethel College

Pamela Austin was working as the vice president of PNC Bank when she decided to pursue higher education.

Although her extensive background in business helped begin her career with PNC, she felt that getting her degree was a necessary step in building her future.

“I was often embarrassed that I did not have a degree,” she said. “Bethel gave me more confidence in my work and helped me to be more proactive. I now have the courage to offer my opinion to both my clients and management.”

She enrolled in Bethel College as a “later in life” adult. She received her bachelor’s degree in organizational management in 2012, along with her Master of Business Administration degree in 2014. Today, she has more than 30 years of experience in business with multiple banks, such as PNC and 1st Source.

Austin currently works as the senior vice president and senior banking advisor at PNC Bank. She says that Bethel played a huge role in helping her accomplish her goals because of the program’s flexibility for working adults Her decision to attend school as an adult was a difficult one, but ultimately helped her in every aspect of life.

“Bethel has helped me to come out of my shell in so many ways,” she said. “I was often the oldest one in my class and at first felt out of place. Thankfully, they did their best to make me feel right at home.”

Austin describes her overall experience with Bethel as “embracing” and gives credit to the many Christian aspects the college upholds. She believes that younger and older students have the ability to benefit from the meaningful and rewarding experience that Bethel provides.

“Every class begins with a prayer,” she said. “They often took prayer requests from students who may be struggling personally or just knew someone who really needed one. Bethel fully embraces all of their students and I think that is so important.”

Austin also found Bethel’s approach to educating adult to be “helpful” and “considerate.” Her situation, as is typical for many adult students, posed a challenge as she needed to juggle a full-time job along with night classes.

“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Bethel’s willingness to accommodate my hectic schedule,” she said. “They truly understand that school is not the only thing we have going on in our busy lives.”

Although Austin has established her long-term career with PNC Bank, she has considered obtaining another master’s degree in the future and, maybe one day, her doctorate degree.

“I just light up when people ask me about Bethel,” she said. “I fully enjoyed my experience there and would very much recommend it to anyone who is considering attending. I just feel the need to share Bethel with the world.”


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