Meredith Kozera and Bryon Russell
Meredith Kozera had her sights set on an MBA after moving to Alexandria, Virginia, in 2012 to join the General Services Administration.
She chose Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program after looking at various colleges and universities in the metro D.C. area.
Bryon Russell worked at a few small business ventures in the metro D.C. region before joining MITRE. Seeking to further his career, he also enrolled in Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program.
The program, ranked in the nation’s top 20 by U.S. News & World Report, is designed for individuals like Kozera and Russell who want to strengthen their credentials to prepare for new job opportunities or to take their careers to the next level.
Based in Virginia Tech’s Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church and part of the university’s National Capital Region campus, the program is tailor-made for busy, full-time professionals: weekday classes starting at 6 p.m. taught by full-time, tenured faculty; a flexible schedule that allows students to enter in the fall, spring, and summer; and on-site staff who are ready to assist students.
For Kozera, who has an undergraduate degree in biology from Virginia Tech, returning to her alma mater for a graduate degree is “the second best decision I ever made.”
A year into the Evening MBA program, Kozera was promoted to contract specialist for the GSA’s Federal Systems Integration and Management Center, where she coordinates and collaborates with numerous project teams and stakeholders to serve various federal client agencies.
She completed her MBA in summer 2015 by taking two courses each semester and a few summer courses. “I really appreciated that the program was so challenging and that the professors set such high expectations for their students.”
One of the Evening MBA’s biggest advantages, Kozera said, is the curriculum’s strong emphasis on business technology. “Without even really intending to, I learned many technical skills related to data analysis and IT management that prove incredibly valuable in my job.”
One of those valuable skills is VBA coding. In fact, Kozera successfully developed an innovative Excel VBA macro that allowed one of her contract teams to significantly increase the efficiency of its price analysis process, thereby saving taxpayer dollars.
The GSA center recognized her for this accomplishment with its Special Acts Award.
Kozera said she completed her MBA on an “amazingly high note” — as one of 26 graduate students who visited 13 multinational companies in Scandinavia on a trip led by Barbara Hoopes, associate professor of business information technology, to see how businesses apply the operations and supply chain concepts discussed in class.
She is not quite sure what’s ahead, Kozera said, “but I am confident that my Virginia Tech MBA will help open the door for me when the time comes to take the next step.”
Russell, who is on target to graduate from the program in the fall of 2017, said he already has "a leg up on my non-MBA co-workers.” The courses he has taken so far, in accounting, organizational behavior, and managerial statistics, apply directly to his daily work as a business administration/financial analyst at MITRE.
“A major reorganization within my unit at MITRE brought many of the hypothetical scenarios we discussed in class to life for me,” Russell said. “Because of what I’ve learned in the MBA program, I find that I am better able than some of my co-workers to grasp various business strategies, assess what is driving management’s decisions, and cope with change.”
Russell, who also has an undergraduate degree in health science from Virginia Tech, credits the MBA curriculum with helping him interact more effectively with the tech staff. “Like many people in today’s work force, I am a non-technical person trying to operate in a technical world.”
Not sure whether his future lies in the corporate or entrepreneurial world, or possibly both, Russell is convinced that a Virginia Tech MBA will be a valuable asset. “The Evening MBA is designed to provide expertise in all areas of business; it’s a very holistic approach.”
Get more information about or apply to Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA.
Posted January 14, 2016