Our Stories

Jessica BalsamJessica Balsam

Joshua BeattyJoshua Beatty

MBA grads achieve success in D.C.

Living up to Willamette’s University’s motto, “Not unto ourselves alone are we born,” our MBA graduates are as devoted to their careers as they are to bettering the world.

Two recent graduates, Jessica Balsam and Joshua Beatty (both MBA’09), are prime examples. Balsam is the marketing and communications lead for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program, and Beatty oversees The Institute of International Education’s six offices in Asia.

Within their respective roles, Balsam and Beatty are taking on the world’s biggest issues by storm — education and the environment.
“I was (and still am) interested in making a difference in the world,” Balsam said. “Willamette gave me the tools to understand problems facing organizations today, the framework to work effectively with organizations and the ability to create high-quality results.”

Renewing the Nation through Renewable Energy

After graduating with a degree in sociology, Balsam planned to earn her PhD. But her life took her in a different direction — to Willamette to earn her MBA.

She now works for the Department of Energy’s Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program, which received $11.9 billion from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act in 2009. The money is used to support clean energy across the country.

Through her role as marketing and communications lead, Balsam works in teams, thinks strategically and communicates messages to the public — all skills she learned through Willamette’s MBA program.

“(I get to) tell the success stories of this investment in clean energy technology,” she said. “I couldn’t do my job without my MBA.”

Creating Access to International Education

Beatty found work for the Institute of International Education (IIE) after graduating. The organization has fostered international exchanges for more than 90 years by providing education services, assisting students and scholars and managing fellowships and scholarships.

In 1921, it worked with the U.S. government to create the student visa category, and today, it helps more than 20,000 people access higher education and study abroad each year.

Building on more than six years studying and working in Asia, the Middle East and South America, Beatty works across Asian cultures to both improve the program and increase access to higher and international education.

As a manager, he’s tapped into knowledge from his finance and accounting classes at Willamette to not only understand the numbers, but effectively present them to executives in his organization.

“My MBA taught me to look at problems and to find solutions in a more process-oriented and data-driven fashion,” he said.

 Living “The D.C.” Life

In recent years, Willamette's MBA graduates have expressed a renewed interest in living and working in Washington, D.C., where they gain a broader understanding of management skills required in both the public and not-for-profit sectors.

By working in D.C., Beatty, for one, said he gets to flex his MBA muscles while improving the efficiency of his organization.
“You will help make donor and tax-payer dollars go further and make an impact on a national or even global level!” he said.

For students interested in pursuing their passions in the nation’s capital, Beatty said D.C. is the place to be.

“Washington, D.C. has a high concentration of national and global not-for-profits, and is of course the seat of the federal government,” he said. “There are organizations and government departments that focus on just about every issue a person could be interested in.”

Balsam agrees.

“At its heart, D.C. is a political city and that vibe permeates much of its culture,” she said. "There is never a dull moment with the museums, restaurants and sports teams, and there are truly people from every walk of life on the streets every day.”