Gayle Roberts was always told she didn’t need an MBA to advance in a line organization. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering and became a project manager at Stanley Consultants, an engineering firm that provides consulting, planning, studies, design and environmental and construction management services. She soon discovered her technical abilities were only part of the job. She needed a skill set that covered broader topics, like finance and human resources.
As a graduate of the MBA program, Gayle found the value of the degree was in the skills she gained and the relationships she made. With them, she was able to advance from project manager to business leader to president. In fact, she is the only female president among United States major international engineering firms.
In his/her own words:
Are the real outcomes of the Ambrose MBA different from what you expected?
I’ve given several presentations on leadership transitions and the transition to president. Often times young professionals in the audience want my job, to be president of the company. I tell them to look for opportunities to challenge themselves and to make a positive difference. I was never seeking to be president, but to grow and give something back to the organization.
I never had this endgame that I would get my MBA and follow a set of steps in my career plan. It’s always been about gaining new abilities, seeking challenges and rounding myself out. You lose out on opportunities if you are so focused on a certain track.
What is your perception of St. Ambrose and the College of Business today?
It’s an innovative program that wants to advance with the needs of the students. The program is for students already in the workplace, and there’s a focus on core values, leadership and integrity.
What do you look for in your employees?
We have such a strong culture within our company, and I want to make sure our employees see themselves as leaders and know their own values. If they work a few years after graduation, they gain experience and have some maturity in their career. They can bring that knowledge to the MBA program.