When she was thinking about the benefits of graduate school, Cindy Dever saw the value of an MBA as three letters that would help her résumé pop.
So far, the experience has turned out to be much, much more. Dever has been promoted twice since beginning the Stevens MBA program, and is now senior manager of marketing and strategy development at Pfizer’s Greenstone Division.
And Dever said she sees a direct correlation between her Stevens classes and her increasing responsibilities and successes at work.
“I thought most of the knowledge I would get in my career would be from learning on the job and career training in the field,” Dever said. “It wasn’t until I started the MBA program that I realized the value doesn’t come two years from now, when I get that degree and put that bullet on my résumé. The value is coming in every class, every week, in every project I’m working on.”
In fact, while Dever was applying to her new role, which she started in May, it was just after completing a marketing class and in the midst of a strategy class.
“There were so many concepts — corporate strategy, business unit strategy, balanced scorecards — introduced in those classes that I talked about during the interview process — and I am using those concepts every day in my new role,” she said. “For me to have so much familiarity with these different kind of functions and concepts — I feel really empowered, over the last couple of years, to offer a lot of value in my role.”
Putting corporate students first
Dever is pursuing her MBA as part of a cohort of Pfizer employees, who take classes together onsite after work. Kal Vadasz, director of corporate partnerships at the School of Business, said the program is structured to offer maximum convenience to employer partners and corporate students by simplifying the enrollment process and ensuring high-quality courses can be delivered at the workplace or through engaging online presentations.
“Our students arrive already skilled at the particular disciplines required for their roles,” Vadasz said. “What we focus on is helping them gain proficiency in the language of business — accounting, finance, marketing and strategy. Our breadth classes help them better understand how these things fit together, and along the way, we incorporate guidance on leadership and teaming. This helps create more self-aware leaders ready to effectively navigate their entire organization.”
In her new role, Dever uses Big Data and analytics to take a more strategic view of where and how Greenstone relates to customers and does business. That’s a specialty of the School of Business, which offers graduate degree and certificate programs that teach students how to incorporate analytics into strategic decision-making.
Stevens courses show ‘where the world is going’
“There’s definitely more weight put on technology in business than when I went to school as an undergraduate student,” she said. “That’s reflective of the changing of the times, but it’s proactive of Stevens to put an emphasis on how technology is changing how business gets done, because that’s where the world is going.”
That’s conscious effort of the School of Business, one in keeping with its continuing evolution to become a leading business school within a technology university.
“Our MBA degree combines a solid grounding in advanced management principles with the science-based problem-solving techniques and emphasis on innovation for which Stevens is so well known,” said Brian Rothschild, director of graduate management programs at the School of Business.
Dever said she’s excited by how her coursework will continue to shape her career options.
“I have watched myself grow in my career so quickly over the last few years, ever since I started the program,” she said. “By the time I’m done with my MBA, I’ll feel empowered to walk into any opportunity and provide value at a leadership level, because I’m more familiar with strategy and with how the projects I’m leading fit into how the company does business.”