Student Success

Priceless Perspective

Couple strengthens career foundation with Executive MBA business and leadership focus

Female and male sitting across low table from each other, talking.

By advancing their understanding of the business side of their respective industries, Lindsey and David Stefaniak are strengthening their career foundation.

Executive MBA

icon of a calendarMarch 15, 2021

icon of a pencilBy Susan Thwing

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As life events go, an advanced degree, success in a full-time career and starting a family are all significant milestones. Achieving all three at the same time? Piece of cake for Lindsey and David Stefaniak, a Waterford, Michigan, couple enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Oakland University, who also welcomed their first child, Olivia, to the world nine months ago.

Lindsey, a vice president at Peter Basso Associates, says they learned about the program at a friend’s bridal shower.

“(David and I) both talked about getting our master’s degrees and explored some options. When our friend who had completed the OU EMBA in a previous cohort spoke so highly about it we were sold,” she says. “We applied in June, then in July found out we were pregnant. The flexibility of classes on alternating weekends makes it entirely possible to manage our careers, get our MBAs and start a family at the same time.”

The OU Executive MBA offers experienced professionals the opportunity to build leadership skills and executive knowledge in an alternating weekend format. Learning alongside accomplished peers in a cohort model offers many benefits including different professional perspectives and a strong network built through shared experiences and education.

The Stefaniaks are using the Executive MBA to build on their career foundation by advancing their understanding of the business side of their respective industries and strengthening their leadership competencies.

“The OU Executive MBA program opened my eyes to what is important, including the tools and language to use to communicate better with my colleagues, and understand their jobs better,” says Lindsey. “I’ve been focused on the engineering aspect of my work. As I moved up in my career, I found I needed the skills for project management, marketing and development. I’m learning to present the brand we represent better.”

David, an engineer at FCA, agrees. “In the future, I plan to focus my career more in project management and leadership,” he says. “Through the OU Executive MBA program I am learning about finance, budgeting, future projecting and meeting goals in supply chain management. The skills we are learning in the OU EMBA program are the skills that can make or break you in your career.”

Completing the program in the midst of a pandemic and entering new parenthood could have been unmanageable, but the program’s flexibility made it doable for the Stefaniaks. They are on track to graduate this April.

“The classes are every other weekend, and the flexibility of deadlines is a lifesaver,” David says. “The program is built around us, the student. It is designed to help us succeed. Student success is the center of it.”

With a focus on preparing students to take the next step in their careers, Lindsey says, “the professors want you to learn. They want to make sure you learn what you need in your career, rather than prove what you learned by answering questions correctly.”

OU EMBA students also benefit from the diversity among cohort colleagues. “There is diversity in jobs, in cultures, in world view,” David says. “Half my classmates are from outside the United States. So, in discussion, someone from Brazil might say ‘That’s great, but here’s what works in my country.’ The diverse views shared by fellow classmates in the OU Executive MBA program provides an essential perspective for this global business economy that is priceless.”

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