Hometown: Lake Oswego, Oregon
Undergraduate Degree(s): B.S., Business Administration, Oregon State University; Professional Certificate in Nonprofit Fundraising, Portland State University
Position: Development Director, Harper’s Playground
How did you manage competing priorities while pursuing your MBA?
Two years isn’t short, but it’s not forever. This made it bearable to say “no” to things like outings with friends and family, football games, outdoor Pacific Northwest adventures, and even professional development opportunities. I shaved off hours where I could, almost like pinching pennies, without completely cutting things out of my life or giving in too much to hustle and stress. But I made sure not to shortcut taking care of myself. Even when life felt too busy to work out or eat healthy, I knew that I had to make the time, and that paid off.
How has the MBA program helped you?
Professionally, the Willamette MBA has been crucial in furthering my career. The knowledge and experience in strategic leadership and business I gained at Willamette put me in a strong position to transition to a leadership role in the nonprofit sector during the program. Personally, the experience taught me many lessons about myself and my environment, and I’m a better person in ways that are challenging to articulate.
What advice would you give to a fellow professional considering their MBA?
Know why you're there. Know what your personal goals are and how the MBA fits into them. When pursuing an MBA while working full time, the balance is not easy. The sacrifices are real. Without clear understanding of its direct value, maintaining commitment and momentum would be all the more challenging and you would miss out on the ability to genuinely apply lessons in real time.
What are the benefits of completing an MBA program with a cohort model?
I can't imagine pursuing an MBA without the cohort model. The gratitude I have for my cohort is hard to put into words. It is said that you become like the people that you spend the most time with. Our cohort spent a lot of time together over the course of those two years, and I would be grateful to become more like any one of them.
What is the most meaningful lesson you learned from the MBA for Professionals program?
I learned to release perfectionism and embrace the unknown. Whether as individuals or organizations, we will never have all the information needed for a perfect solution or plan. Before the program, I wore perfectionism as a badge of honor. Now I see that if we wait for things to be perfect, then the experience, the business opportunity, the deadline, whatever it is—it will pass us by.