MBA-SBP: A Perspective

by Alexandra Kramer

From the day I graduated from Kent State University with a BA in Fashion Design, I knew I wanted to pursue further education – without knowing what exactly that meant for me I moved into the workplace.  At that time, I chose to take an internship in Portland Oregon, which turned into the job I would have only dreamed of previously.  As Director of Product at Looptworks, I learned more about sustainability and all the ways the soft goods supply chain can impact our environment.  After four years of work in the industry, I was ready for something new. I resigned from my position to move back to Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh was always home, and my intention was always to come back.  I took this time to research masters’ programs that were sustainability-focused.  I talked with professors I had in undergrad about my curiosities around becoming a professor myself.  I was given both horror stories and cheerful anecdotes, not to mention an explicit warning over the amount of research required.  I concluded nothing I was told would deter me.

I did not believe an MBA would be where I find myself today, but I truly believe it’s exactly where I need to be.  I did not have a business background going into this program that many have.  I did not know any accounting, statistics or finance.  However, the greatest advantage to the MBA-SBP program is the small group that makes up our 2020 cohort takes each class together.  At first, I did not see the value of these set schedules for everyone, as I would normally load my schedule to as few days as possible. But now I can say without a doubt the idea of the cohort is a great one, it allows each of us an opportunity to help one another.  I can ask my peers for help with finance or statistics, and I can help them with sustainable supply chain or lean manufacturing.  It has given us the opportunity to learn from each other.

The MBA-SBP program has given me a very different set of skills than that of my undergrad.  Combining both my art background with the tools this program has taught me will give both the cohort and I a competitive advantage going back into the workplace.  Due to COVID-19 it could not have been better timing to pursue continued education.  While the experience has been altered it has been a great one filled with a variety of topics, tools and backgrounds.