Samantha Garrard, ’16, ’17 MBA, graduated at the top of her class from Seattle University with a bachelor’s degree in public affairs. Having interned for Sen. Patty Murray, Garrard probably could have written her ticket in the public sector. Instead, she chose to broaden her skills with a Bridge MBA from the Albers School of Business and Economics. Garrard reasoned that the one-year business degree, designed for recent college graduates with little to no work experience, would round out her skill set with training from one of the nation’s top business schools while keeping her connected to a university mission she deeply valued. An unexpected byproduct: It changed her idea of business.
“Leveraging the Albers’ name while getting an MBA that was mission-oriented was very important to me,” she says. “Before [the MBA] I did not know there could be a balance between helping people and making money. Then I learned about corporate social responsibility and the value businesses can bring to the community."
Garrard discovered she had a knack for marketing. Her talent won the attention of Accolade, a Seattle health care concierge company recognized as one of Forbes magazine’s Top 25 “Most Promising Companies in the Nation.” Today, she finds that her Albers education continues to help her in her role as marketing coordinator. “The bridge program allows me to speak the language of business. I can go into any meeting and understand accounting terms or economic concepts."
Pursuing a business degree represented a leap into the unknown, Garrard says. But Seattle U’s small classes and professors who “make themselves available” made all the difference in her success.
“It really allows you to take a deep dive. … The commitment to educating the whole person is very evident in how they approach teaching.”