An Interview with Shana Mezzanatto
Tell us about your decision to get your MBA at CSUSM
I have been a critical care nurse for over 15 years and found that I was interested in leadership, management and entrepreneurship. However, I lacked the understanding of how intertwined business was with healthcare. To advance in these areas, I needed an understanding of how general business operated. After researching many different business schools, I found that CSUSM offered the SMBA program for individuals like myself. Lacking basic business experience/education, CSUSM was willing to provide the basic business core classes over an intense summer program that would prepare me for the SMBA program. Even with my lack of business education I was encouraged and welcomed with open arms into the SMBA program.
Where has your career path taken you since graduating?
Since graduating, I continue to work as an ICU nurse, especially since I am needed during these uncertain times of Covid-19. I obtained my MBA not to switch careers but to enhance and broaden my opportunities within nursing. I now have the skills and education to advance my nursing career into leadership/ management when the opportunity arises.
Currently though a fellow colleague of mine and I have started a nurse-owned business, CertifiedRN.com, LLC. We are a woman ran education business that provides exam preparation for nurses seeking specialty certifications in progressive and critical care. These certifications are sought after as these registered nurses are seen as experts in there clinical specialties. This has allowed me to integrate my passion and expertise of critical care nursing with the current and up to date business knowledge I have obtained from the SMBA program. In addition to the hard skills, the soft skills have prepared me to be a more knowledgeable and successful business owner.
Tell us about your current role in CertifiedRN.com?
My business partner is a Masters prepared Nurse Specialist, and provides the majority of in-person education for the courses for the nurses. I support her in providing education in my specialty of neuro-trauma critical care however my efforts are focused on financial management, marketing/customer service and project management/planning for www.CertifiedRN.com, LLC. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 all of our classes were canceled. Although, for any small business this time is disheartening, we have learned how to adapt to change. Being a part of healthcare, change is a part of our everyday life and figuring out what was needed for us to maintain our business during these times was not an option but an expected challenge. We knew it was necessary. It was the SMBA program that taught me to expect, prepare and adapt to change in a business environment. With determination we were able remodel and revise our courses to be accessible on online platforms. Fortunately we have been able to reschedule the majority of courses and continue to expand our online courses.
What important lessons have you learned in management/leadership roles?
I am not in a management role at this time however all of the graduate courses I took in the SMBA program consistently provided current and relevant leadership information related to the course subject being taught. The highly experienced and educated faculty offered a wealth of guidance and mentorship in leadership. Regardless of where my own career takes me, these lessons in leadership have had a huge impact on my own development as a professional and as an individual.
Any advice for students or alumni?
My advice for all students and those who are interested in pursuing an MBA is to understand obtaining a MBA is not simply meant to “get you a job.” It is to take you as a professional, regardless of your career choice and develop you as a leader, a mentor and to think outside of box of the traditional education a majority of us have received in our Bachelor Degree programs. I suggest, walking in with an open mind so that you do not miss all of the opportunities that are offered by such diverse knowledgeable group of professionals and faculty in the SMBA program. I have been given the opportunity to network with working professionals and mentors that I would of never had the chance to be exposed to if it was not for the SMBA faculty. Do not take any of this for granted, it is a priceless gift.
What is your favorite memory from CSUSM MBA?
Being welcomed into a SMBA cohort that knew I was clueless and completely unaware how the business world worked is probably the largest factor in helping me maintain the perseverance and determination to finish an extremely challenging program. I have never met such an amazing group of faculty and students who consistently showed compassion, encouragement and a true sense of community. If I had to do it all over again, I would. Again and again and again.