Alverno MBA Turns 10
The Alverno MBA is designed to develop leaders who are ready to not only thrive in a changing economy but who can also drive change themselves.
For the past decade, it has done just that, as the 304 women and men who have graduated from the program can attest.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Alverno’s first graduating MBA class, we reached out to alums to learn how this degree helped them make a difference. Here’s what they had to say.
Laura Landergott ’09
Senior director, field digital promotion, Northwestern Mutual
After more than two decades in the workforce, Laura decided to challenge herself by returning to school for her MBA. At Alverno, she didn’t just find a school – she found a community.
“I grew to love my cohort like they were my sisters. We learned from each other, and we grew up together. I’m still friends with women from that class to this day.”
When Laura started a new career at Northwestern Mutual after earning her MBA, she found herself filled with the confidence to bring her authentic self to work. She received the opportunity to grow as a leader and to develop future leaders. Above all, she is proud of her company’s mission.
“At Northwestern Mutual, our financial advisors help clients spend their lives living. It is so exciting to help people find a financial freedom that they’ve never had before. I feel proud that my company is able to do that for so many people here in Milwaukee and across the country.”
Jessica Pharm ’16
Corporate recruiter, Harley-Davidson Motor Company
Jessica always knew she wanted a graduate degree, and an MBA would serve as a bridge from her undergraduate journalism degree to her next steps in the corporate world.
“Having one class per semester allowed you to focus on one subject in depth, which I liked. I also liked the cohort model. You were progressing through the program with the same people you started with, and that helped with networking and building relationships.”
Jessica now serves as a corporate recruiter for Harley-Davidson Motor Co., where she is responsible for ensuring a pipeline of talent in the skilled trades and manufacturing.
“Where I work now is the best job I’ve ever had! My MBA and professional certifications have opened doors for me and have established me as having the skills employers are looking for.”
Jaimie Thomas ’16
Early career experience program manager, Rockwell Automation
Jaimie studied psychology as an undergraduate but found herself pursuing a career in human resources. She needed a program that would give her a foundation to build a corporate career. She found that (and more) at Alverno.
“What drew me to Alverno in the first place was the fact that program was based on getting you real world experience that you could use in your job. I learned a lot of that foundation from Alverno, which helped me become a better human resources professional.”
Most relevant to Jaimie was coursework focused on change management.
“For any company you work for, the only thing that’s constant is change. The tools that you learn and the importance of communication was something that I took and directly applied to my role.”
Barkha Daily ’11
Founder, owner and chef, the cheel
When Barkha decided to open up a restaurant to share her Nepalese cuisine with the greater Milwaukee area, she only did so with a solid team behind her.
“It’s not about doing everything yourself. At Alverno, we learned how to work with a team and how to support and retain them. I made sure to surround myself with people who knew what they were doing, and I’ve learned a lot from them.”
Barkha says having her MBA from Alverno made a big difference in her ability to manage her business. The result is a business that consistently draws visitors from around the world and earns new accolades.
“The Alverno education and the network that were provided really helped me get to where I am today. We are becoming a destination because there is nothing else like us.”
Tracy Hrajnoha ’15
Director of partnerships and community engagement, Neu-Life Community Development
Tracy turned her passion for social justice into a career with a nonprofit. But it was her Alverno MBA that helped her turn her idea for a new program into a reality.
“Being in the nonprofit sector, I felt that having business acumen could help grow the organization. Both sectors do a lot of things well. We can learn from each other, and with that, we can be really powerful.”
Tracy was able to take what she was learning and apply it immediately to her job (earning a promotion in the process). The end result was Farmfork, an after-school program in which teens plan, plant and manage gardens, plus learn how to cook recipes using the fruits of their labor.
“It’s been so successful because of the time I was able to work on it at Alverno.”