Brandman News

MBA students see immediate results at work from time in classroom

February 25, 2015

Students in the Brandman University MBA program don’t wait until their courses are finished to begin using what they’ve learned in class to be successful at work.

We caught up with two current students and asked them about MBA studies and the real world.

Brandman University MBA student Sandra Wells

Sandra Wells

Sandra Wells anticipates walking in commencement ceremonies in May. Currently working at a credit union in fraud detection, we caught up with her before class in Irvine.

What made you decide to go for an MBA?
“I saw some growth opportunities at work but need to fill in some professional gaps so I could possible move up.”

What is something you’ve learned in class that you have already put to use at work?
“The classes that I thought were going to be the ones farthest outside my comfort level or the least related to work turned out to be the opposite.  Economics – I was terrified of it – but what I learned I was able to put to use at work and will end up saving the company eight to ten thousand dollars. The other course, the one I’m in right now, is supply chain management. I thought that only had to do with manufacturing, but I’m learning no matter what you do, you have a supply chain process. It’s made me evaluate the processes we use. I do a lot of paper pushing, and there are a lot of redundancies.”

What about the program has helped you most?
Before, I was stuck in the process. Now I have the larger picture. I am more well-rounded. I would like to move to a management/leadership position and working on my MBA has made me better candidate.”

Do you have any advice for new MBA students?
Make sure you stay on top of your reading. You never know what little nugget is going to jump out at you and you never know what’s going to be relatable.  The professors here have all been really wonderfully unique and diverse in their backgrounds, so they’re the best resource and can point you in some remarkable directions.”

Brandman University MBA student Alice Chan

Alice Chan

Alice Chan is currently working on her capstone with two more electives to complete. She’s the chief of staff for two division vice presidents at Frito Lay in Plano, Texas. She learned about Brandman’s MBA program through a fortuitous 3-hour plane ride sitting next to a Jan Roberts, a former student who told her about Frito Lay’s scholarship program with Brandman.  She started at the San Diego campus but is now an online student.

What is something you’ve learned in class that you have already put to use at work?
“I’ve learned a lot. In a class on creativity we talked about leadership and innovation. It broadens your mind. It causes you to slow down and think differently. I’ve found that innovation is not always something brand new, that it can be something you adapt. So there are many times at work when they want a new way of doing processes and procedures and I’ve found it can be an adaptation of what we have. HR [human resources classes] grounded us in taking care of your people. You learn to adapt your leadership style. Working with senior leaders and navigating through politics is a different level. You have to change your leadership style depending on who you’re dealing with. Dr. (Tim) Becker was the first to really talk about hands-on learning, that you have to apply it, too. He not only said that’s what you have to do, he adapted our learning so we had to do that.”

What about the program has helped you most?
“The capstone class is a great way to summarize all your learning. You take everything you’ve learned and bundle it up into a business that I feel like I could actually launch. That’s exciting.”

What surprised you about the MBA program?
“When you’re an undergrad, you’re just learning something for the first time. When you’re in the workplace, you’re learning on the job. I thought going into my MBA it would reinforce things I had already learned, but it also opened up new ways of thinking. An MBA is really a good supplement. It’s not just regurgitation. That’s what I love about the program.”

What’s next for you?
“I’m looking to become a vice president at some point in my company so my next step would be an account manager or national sales role or broader, regional role.”

This is the first in a series of Brandman News Now posts looking at how current and former MBA students use what they learn in the real world.

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