Q: What were you looking to gain from the D’Amore-McKim Part-Time MBA program? How has it changed you?
A: The primary skills I wanted to develop and nurture were really around project management, leadership, and business acumen. Through my course work specializing in entrepreneurship and international business, I've been able to develop those skills a great deal. Compared to the old me, I’d say that I can analyze business scenarios very quickly, drawing upon experience not only from team projects, but also from case studies. I’m also better at communicating results to my stakeholders, clients, and managers. That’s really helped my career in a lot of ways, making me visibly stand out compared to my peers.
Q: The professors are deeply networked into lots of interesting companies. Many of them are working in the field. Did that prove to be valuable?
A: Absolutely. I took a social entrepreneurship course, and I can tell you with 100% certainty that was a life-changing class for me. It truly shaped the way that I view the world, guiding how I look at businesses and understanding where opportunities are in underserved markets. The course was made possible through the professional network of the professor, who was able to bring together insightful guest speakers. They each brought knowledge from a lot of different industries, a lot of different practices, spanning over forty years of change in the sector.
Q: You were involved with the Husky Startup Challenge. Can you describe that?
A: The Husky Startup Challenge is a program that's run by students through the Entrepreneurs Club. You’re taught how to pitch your idea and how to build your business plan. At the end of the semester, there's an expo where students display their ideas. Students, faculty, staff, local community members, and even venture capitalists come and vote on the ideas to determine who gets the grand prize. After going through that process, you’re almost at the point where you could launch your own business, because you’ve practiced all the steps it takes to do so. This truly gives you a tremendous launch pad for doing anything you want.
Q: Is that first-hand experience a big part of the program?
A: One of the benefits of the Part-Time MBA program is that the vast majority of students are working professionals. They’re in sales, marketing, customer service, product development, you name it. The perspectives that they bring to the table from their different roles in their organizations make the classroom experience very rich.
So, without real world experience, it doesn't make sense. Plus, because we're working professionals, it doesn't make sense to treat us like we’re classroom students with no experience. The professors know this and expect us to leverage our professional experience and then apply it back to real world scenarios. That is another opportunity for us to cross industries, cross disciplines, and do something real and meaningful.
Q: Tell us about the work-life balance. How did that impact you?
A: There are two parts to work-life balance. The first is understanding your time commitment. The second is understanding your flexible options. Here, all of your class schedules are outlined clearly. You have an expectation for the number of hours outside of class that you're doing homework or project work. You're maybe on campus once per week, which I believe is manageable for a lot of real world schedules. Outside of that, you communicate via email, Google docs, Blackboard, as well as a variety of other tools that are available. Plus, the professors are tremendously understanding. They know that we are all working professionals. I've needed to take business trips, or be absent due to work or personal reasons. Professors never made an issue out of it. Thanks to the flexibility of the program, I've never felt that school was impossible to manage.
Q: What would say to a professional considering this program?
A: For any individual looking to advance their career, it's important to understand how businesses operate. The D'Amore-McKim School of Business and the Part-Time MBA program teach you how to learn a business, and then how to improve it. You will gain the skills and the knowledge that you need to be an effective manager, and an effective leader.
Hear more about Marty's experience in the Part-Time MBA program »