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How an Online MBA Helped Me Get a Promotion

September 10, 2021
Sticky note on a desk next to mouse reads "congrats! you got the job!"

A common concern that many people have when looking to earn their MBA is how they’ll be able to balance their current job along with their coursework. But for 2021 Seattle University Online MBA graduate Emily Panyard, she didn’t just continue working while earning her master’s degree—she got promoted because of it.

“During the program, I was promoted to a senior role with more responsibilities. I know that what I learned from my Online MBA at the Albers School of Business and Economics not only helped me achieve that goal, but also helped me to be a more effective leader in my transition afterward,” Emily says.

From the beginning of the course, Emily recognized the overlap from her MBA classes and her day-to-day responsibilities as a District Sales Manager at Sherwin-Williams. “One of the aspects that has most impressed me in pursuing my Online MBA while working at Sherwin-Williams is how well they complement each other,” she explains.

Emily’s role often involves sales, marketing, finance, human resources, loss prevention, management, and almost every other aspect of the business—all in one day. To help prepare students for these modern business realities, the rigorous online MBA curriculum at Albers employs a similar cross-functional mentality. With this approach, every student can hone existing skills in certain areas and develop new ones along the way, all while learning to adopt a holistic view of business.

“The program provided a deeper dive into each job function and helped me become a better leader for my organization and team,” Emily says. “It helped me understand the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’, which is crucial for our overall success.”

Developing an EQ in Business

Aside from the hard skills that Emily and her cohort gained over the course of the program, she also learned more about her emotional intelligence (EQ) and the way that it affects her and her team’s working styles.

“Many of the courses focus on EQ in business—learning how to strengthen mine and teaching others how to enhance theirs. Working with your team and influencing behavior is an important role in management, and the emphasis on EQ has helped make me a stronger leader and manager,” she says.

To help translate the basics of emotional intelligence into actionable steps, each course in the MBA program features a Leadership Challenge. While the challenges may be structured differently in every course, they are all paired with an assignment designed to help students cultivate the problem-solving mindset required to lead effectively.

Emily quickly put these lessons into practice when she went from managing a team of 16 to a team of 115 after her promotion. Because of the MBA course content, Emily was able to create and implement a strategic plan that earned her team’s trust (as well as earn a Circle of Excellence award). She notes that the Teamwork and Decision Making course was especially beneficial because it allowed her to better understand team dynamics and how to positively influence the team she participates in and leads.

“I was immediately able to use this in my day-to-day and even had assignments that forced me not only to implement these skills, but also to reflect on my progress,” explains Emily. “It helped keep me honest in my development.”

Staying Connected in an Online MBA Program

Although she took the Seattle U MBA program online, Emily asserts that she hasn’t missed any opportunities that in-person programs have to offer.

The online format worked well for Emily’s schedule and lifestyle, and she was still able to create a strong network with peers and even meet up in person a few times to work together and share thoughts. “In fact,” she says, “I’m borrowing some ideas from my cohort right now to strengthen my local Sherwin-Williams Women’s Networking Group and plan events. Their input has been so helpful for me.”

Seattle U offers plenty of online and in-person networking opportunities, including the Albers Mentor Program, an Executive Speaker Series, Founder Fridays, and access to Handshake, a job board and networking platform. With these opportunities, Emily was able to meet other students and professionals, discuss her courses and career with her mentor, and connect all that she was learning in her classes with real-world business.

“Overall, choosing to earn my Online MBA from the Albers School of Business and Economics was a great decision for me personally and professionally,” Emily says. “I expanded my network and my learning, and I felt it was a very impactful experience.”

Find Your Own Success at Seattle U

Whether you’re working toward a promotion or just getting started in your career, an online MBA or Online Master of Science in Business Analytics from the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University can help you get there. The in-depth courses, flexible format, and plentiful networking opportunities won’t just help you get your foot in the door—they’ll help open up new doors, too.