This May St. Andrews graduated its first class of students from the MBA program. I talked to Heather Lee who was a member of the graduating class and Rob Jacobs who is currently enrolled in the program. Heather serves as a Hunter Seat Riding Instructor and Event Manager for the St.Andrews Equestrian Program. I asked Heather about the skills she had learned or developed during her time in the program.
“The skills that I have been challenged to develop throughout the MBA program are those that aid in professional development and in critical thinking. Many classes, from beginning to end, use a case based method of study that took the theories and principles from the text books and applied them to real life. Each class gave a different area of focus that, in the end, allowed me to see the whole picture and how those pieces fit together. The final practicum classes gave me the opportunity to put those pieces together and to be able to apply the concepts covered in previous classes, in a professional, real life situation.”
Rob has spent two years at St. Andrews working as a Hunter Seat Coach, Assistant IHSA Coach and Education Coordinator, he had this to say about the program. “The MBA program that St. Andrews offers is unique and growing daily; the program has given me knowledge and practical experience which has already fostered my growth and career advancement.” When asked about the skills that he has developed he had this to say. “The most important skill I have taken away from the courses thus far is how to understand and work better with different personality types. Communication is a struggle for everyone but working to keep our lines of communication open and clear is vital to the success of any organization.”
Both Heather and Rob agreed that Human Behavior was their favorite class. Heather said, “My favorite class throughout the MBA program was the Human Behavior class. I think this is something that is over-looked in many companies, whether they are successful or unsuccessful. Learning more about the way different people think and interact is a crucial piece in being a manager, no matter the industry. This class put an emphasis on understanding the way different personality types are driven. I think this class has helped me to understand more about myself and the people I work with both in the classroom as a student and in the arena as an instructor.” Rob agreed, “This class taught me the most about myself and how I can better work with other personalities. Working in the equestrian field naturally lends itself to working with people who are strong willed and working with others requires skill and a tactful approach in order to be effective.”
I asked Rob what he felt was the value of the MBA program. “Besides coaching equine lessons, I enjoy teaching equine lectures to college students in an academic setting and having my Masters would make that possible in the future,” he said. “The greatest benefit of St. Andrews' MBA program is the practical knowledge that I receive which can and will be used immediately.”