One of the best ways to truly understand a school’s impact is to ask students to tell their own stories. Join us in getting to know Crowell students and recent alumni and how they have been transformed — by professors, by fellow students, by God — during their time at Biola in our series, Character and Career: Stories of Transformation.
Alumna Hannah Dietze (’20), who graduated with a degree in business analytics from Crowell School of Business, has always been a storyteller. Even as a young person, born and raised in California’s Central Valley, she was writing stories and making charts and graphs in PowerPoint — not for school, just for fun.
Here, Dietze shares her Biola story.
How did you get to Biola?
When I was in high school, my dad got his doctorate at [Biola’s] Talbot [School of Theology]. My family and I would visit him at Biola in the summer, and as he took us on an impromptu tour, I liked the feeling of campus, the sense of peace and community. During my junior year, I came for Spring Preview Day, and I was sold. The sense of community I had felt over the summer was even stronger, and everyone I met was so full of kindness and grace. I knew that this was the sort of place I wanted to be.
You were a business major with an analytics concentration, and also an English minor. Are there ways that those things fit together really well … and ways that they didn't?
Analytics is a powerful tool capable of helping organizations do great things, but the caution with any numbers-based field is to not lose the human aspect. It’s easy to dehumanize data. We are called to love our neighbor, and that means keeping in mind that the numbers I analyze are never just numbers; there are people reflected in them. That’s where my English minor fits in; I can understand and tell a story with words, while through analytics, I can understand and tell a story with data. The idea of story is deeply intertwined with both.
Also, there were some aspects of business that I enjoyed but some that were quite challenging. That’s where having the English minor helped — it gave me a more creative outlet to balance out some of my business classes. I want to continue writing fiction, even if I never have the opportunity to publish a novel.
How did you sense God moving in your life during your time at Biola?
College was a time of growth for me, both intellectually and spiritually. Most importantly, I learned more about who God made me to be and how to live into that. It wasn’t always easy, but because of it, I learned how to trust in His promises, especially the promise that He is with us always, in everything we do. Even classwork! Even laundry! Even binge-watching Netflix!
I’m leaving Biola with a stronger sense of justice, especially in the areas of right to life and gender equality. As followers of Christ, we know that all people are made in the image of God, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, anything. We ought to show everyone the same grace, love, and abundant life that we have been given.
Why did you choose a major in business?
I would not have ended up where I am without God’s guidance. I landed on business administration because it was versatile, and when Dr. [David] Bourgeois gave a presentation about the brand-new analytics concentration in my First Year Seminar, I was sold. Creating these amazing visualizations to uncover patterns and trends — the human story behind the data — looked like so much fun. From the first day of my first analytics class, I knew it was where I was supposed to be. God led me to a business major so that I could study analytics — a concentration that had yet to exist when I first chose my major!
One thing that’s so great about majoring in business at Biola is that I learned how to approach business Christian-ly. The motto “Business as Ministry” deserves to be shouted from the rooftops — all that we do, if done for God, brings glory to Him. The callings that God has for us are myriad and all equally wonderful. Whether He calls us to business, teaching, nursing, or the priesthood, we can all bring Him glory by doing our jobs to the fullest of our abilities.
Did you have some favorite classroom experiences?
In a class on Navigating the Creative Project, I worked with students from other majors in the process of ideation, design, and high-concept pitching for our own Disney Parks attraction. I have always loved Disney, and one of my favorite things about going to school so close to Anaheim was that I could go to Disneyland so often with friends. I not only learned a lot about the behind-the-scenes process of creating theme park experiences, but also about collaborating with others who have different approaches to the creative process.
But it wasn’t just business classes, I also got a lot out of Dr. [Zehavi] Husser’s Art Appreciation class. Her goal was that we understand art in order to better appreciate it. For me, that has translated into other things, too, from literature to business, and how deeper understanding can allow us to better appreciate the things around us.
What have you learned from your internships?
I was lucky enough to have two summer internships during my time at Biola. They were immeasurably helpful for me. They helped me prove to myself that I am capable. It was a little daunting at first to translate “homework skills” into a real workplace, but now I know that I can. I have also been able to learn more about myself: my strengths and weaknesses, what I like and don’t like to do, the hard and soft skills that are important to cultivate and foster. Since graduating, I’ve had a couple of internships and other opportunities cancelled because of COVID, so I’m taking some coding classes online to build up my skillset for when hiring picks up again.
Any advice for incoming business students?
One of the most difficult decisions I made while at Biola was the decision to ask for help when I needed it. I used to fear that asking for help was a sign of weakness, but I learned that reaching out is healthy, and the moment I did, it was such a weight off my shoulders. I have never once looked back.
Also, you shouldn’t feel pressured to know exactly what you want to do right off the bat. You have your whole life to figure that out, so take your time now to try different things and see where your skills and talents lie. You are uniquely gifted and wonderfully made, and it’s a sweet and beautiful process to discover who God made you to be. Though it takes time and patience, you will never regret that time you spend with Him.
Learn more about Crowell’s business analytics concentration, which prepares you with the tools and techniques you need to succeed in an increasingly data-driven business world.