Andrea Dietz Fall '21 shares why she choose to pursue her MBA at CSUSM and her experence in the Professional Mentor Program.
I decided to pursue an MBA to strengthen my analytical and managerial skills, as well as expand my professional network within the San Diego community. Early in my career, I established a personal goal to build upon my business knowledge through various career development courses, cross-functional projects, and educational articles. To this day, I make a point to highlight education in each role I advance to because I have a genuine passion for learning and solving difficult problems. I learned the importance of career planning and building my skillset to align with my short-term and long-term career goals. I consistently balance my personal and professional workloads by practicing time management and project management strategies I have refined through the years. Overseeing my own development has brought immense joy to my life and inherently prepared me for a rigorous MBA program while working full-time. I strongly believe an MBA will further my career progression and help me reach my fullest potential as a leader, manager, and colleague.
For most of my life, the CSUSM campus has been adjacent to my back yard in Escondido. Both of my sisters attended CSUSM; one of them earned a degree in supply chain management and the other earned her teaching credential. Besides all the great experiences and memories my sisters have expressed, the FEMBA program struck me as the perfect fit for my aspirations. The major selling points of the program is that it is accelerated, comprehensive, and designed for full-time employees. Most importantly, the program is built on a cohort structure. I specifically wanted a program that would provide networking opportunities in the classroom as well as in the San Diego community.
As I look toward graduation in December of this year 2021, I can honestly say the FEMBA program did not disappoint. In the last year, I have gained a mentor through the Professional Mentor Program, and connections with over 50 professionals comprised of students, faculty, and guest speakers who have been instrumental in my development. I immediately began implementing tools from the classroom into my present role as I progressed through the program and the results have been positively life changing. Not only have I experienced substantial personal growth in my work, but my team has also benefited from the concepts I have introduced to them. I am thankful to work with a supportive group of individuals that value knowledge sharing in the workplace. I plan on continuing my education through other career development opportunities after graduation and I am excited to see what the future holds.
After joining the FEMBA program, I was eager to apply as a mentee in the Professional Mentor Program. I had participated in a similar program during my undergrad, and I was hopeful that a Mentor at this stage of my career would help me achieve my near-term professional and personal goals. My mentor and I met twice a month and we began diving into my goals right away. Our discussions were focused on three main topics: leadership, communication, and career potential. My mentor provided a safe environment to develop my skills and practice new tools. After just three months of working together I launched an anonymous survey to 50 individuals in my personal and professional network to gather data about myself. It was a challenging exercise, but I learned an immense amount about how my network perceives me and I was able to home in on my weaknesses. The survey was a jumping off point that led to various research topics, networking events, interviews, and hours of inward reflection. Through these exercises I became a more confident leader, communicator, and contributor. For example, I asked my manager for more leadership opportunities which resulted in me leading staff meetings, and cross-functional meetings. Then, I asked for facetime with my CFO to get to know her better and share my experiences. Lastly, I learned the power of saying no, in a professional manner, to tasks that were not aiding my development and proposing better solutions. Without a doubt, the FEMBA program paired with the Professional Mentor Program over the past year has made an unforgettable impact on my personal and professional development.