A Conversation with Michael Gay MBA'23

Responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.

What brought you to Willamette?

I've been at Salem Health for a number of years and recently moved into a leadership position. They encourage folks in leadership positions to pursue advanced degrees. And so I kind of began looking around at some of the opportunities. I settled on Willamette mostly because the proximity and geography was really important a way to have a short commute to class, but still have an in-person experience.

How have you applied what you've learned so far in your job?

I certainly have found a lot of application in my Managing Organizations and Teams course. I think there were just a lot of parallels and connections with some of the challenges that my department and division grapple with. There are issues where I was able to take some of the principles and mental models that we discussed and kind of parlay them over into work life pretty quickly. It's been super useful.

How has financial support enabled you to pursue your MBA?

Finances were a big part of my equation and deciding whether or not to pursue a master's degree and where to pursue it. Particularly as a mid-career student, I think the level of support is an important kind of factor in making that decision. It's an exciting thing for our community to have a setting like that that provides access points for people of a lot of different ages and spots in life to reenter the kind educational scene and and continue to learn.

Learn More About the Difference You Made for Michael

Because of you, Willamette continues to create innovative programs that give business students the skills they need to put knowledge into action.

Today, business and management education can be found at any level, from the new undergraduate business major to the mid-career focused MBA for Professionals program. Read on to hear about how you shaped management education at Willamette.

You Helped Michael Understand What it Means to Be a Leader

As Director of Government Relations and Strategic Communications at Salem Health, Michael Gay MBA’23 knew it would be just a walk across the street to develop his management skills.

After moving into a new management position, Michael enrolled in the MBA for Professionals program at Willamette hoping to develop his leadership skills. “I’ve found a lot of applications in class,” Michael says.

“There were some issues where I was able to take some of the principles and parlay them over into work life pretty quickly.”

Financial support made the decision to go back to school while working full-time and raising a family feel possible.

“I’m really grateful for the chance to have an academic experience and learn at Willamette,” Michael says. “My kids are 11 and 15 and there’s something about them watching me go through this experience that’s really powerful.”

Thank you for giving Michael this life-changing gift.

Read more stories about how Willamette's exceptional MBA students, faculty and alumni are turning knowledge into action on our news page.

Michael Gay MBA'23

“I’m really grateful for the chance to have an academic experience and learn at Willamette."

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