MBA student puts her Brandman classes to work helping public
Sadie Albers dared to get “silly” at her job. It worked.
As the communications specialist for the San Bernardino Police Department, the Brandman MBA student added a GIF of a cute dog with windshield wiper glasses during a recent alert about possible severe weather. Her tweet to remind drivers to turn on their lights when their wipers are on picked up a thousand likes and more than 400 retweets. In other words, it got the word out.
Finding a way to reframe innovation for officers who like to do things the way they’ve always been done was one benefit of her MBA classes in organizational leadership.
Always the youngest in her classes (she’s about to finish her MBA at age 25) and without much business experience when she started, Albers is an interesting contrast to the usual Brandman graduate student who is 30 to 40 years old and returning to school years after completing a bachelor’s degree.
Creating an MBA cohort
An age gap didn’t stop her from both thriving in her classes and making friends along the way. Because she worked with academic advisor Terry Hadfield to map out her entire program when she first enrolled, Albers always knew what class she was taking next and shared that with classmates. Pretty soon about 10 of them were forming a de facto cohort.
“I now have a great group of friends who helped through the whole program. They kept me accountable, even if that meant calling me at 11 p.m. to remind me to do a discussion post,” she said. “No matter how difficult the classes got, I knew I had friends there going through the same thing and reassuring me that it was all going to be OK.”
Albers knew when she finished her bachelor’s degree with a communications major from Cal State Fullerton that she wanted to continue toward a master’s degree.
“I knew that having a master’s degree would give me an edge in the business world and allow me opportunities that I would not have without it,” she said.
When she started at Brandman, she was working at a public relations firm that specialized in cybersecurity. Midway through her degree program, she was hired by the San Bernardino Police Department. Now she’s using her communications skills, her MBA-program marketing skills and her increased knowledge of the workings of government achieved through the graduate certificate in public administration she added to her MBA program.
“Policy analysis was huge in this job. It was a lot of work (to add the certificate courses) but has definitely paid off. Having the big picture view makes me a more valuable employee,” she said.
Helping a government agency communicate with their target audiences isn’t just her job, it’s also the concept for the business plan she’s just finished for her master’s capstone project. It’s also part of her larger goal in life. “I knew I wanted to help people,” she said.
For now, that means helping bridge the gap between the public and law enforcement, whether that means being a little silly or easing tensions reaching a breaking point. “I know they (law enforcement) are great people. I want to heal that a little bit.”
She’s also appreciative of the opportunities she’s gaining in San Bernardino, thanks to a supportive police chief whose decision to bring two civilians in to do media relations created her new position. He’s also invested in video production equipment, allowing Albers and her co-workers to launch two-minute Facebook videos that highlight unsolved homicides and ask for public tips.
That job opportunity also allows her to continue on another goal. “I always knew I wanted to be self-sufficient and also family-centric,” she said, explaining why she was eager to start an MBA program immediately after finishing her bachelor’s degree.
Brandman, she said, was a great experience and she particularly loved the eight-week sessions. Still, if she could do it differently, she said she would have waited to enroll. “It was so much harder to write papers and problem-solve in case studies with my limited professional experience.”
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