How Stephanie Trunzo struck a balance between an MBA and everyday life.

By Christine Ferrell

Stephanie Trunzo the chief creative officer for PointSource, a company that specializes in mobility solutions for the enterprise. She graduated from the NC State Professional MBA program in December 2009 and also serves as a visiting lecturer. Don’t miss her video at the bottom of this post!

Pursuing an MBA shouldn’t mean compromising on your other ambitions.

For Stephanie Trunzo, it proved possible to work, teach, start a family and still get the education she needed. Today, she’s the chief creative officer for a leading mobile strategy firm in Raleigh.

Key to Trunzo’s balancing act was the Professional MBA at the Jenkins Graduate School of Management. No other program offered her the freedom to keep up all of her commitments, which included a full-time management position at IBM.

“The combination of affordability and something I could realistically fit into my life was what drove my decision to choose NC State,” she says.

Because of the program’s design, Trunzo was able to take two full semesters off following pregnancy and the birth of her daughter. On her return, she could restructure her courseload to suit her life. Without that freedom, she says, “I would never have been able to do all of the things I did at one time.”

The program offered geographic flexibility, too: Trunzo attended classes at a state-of-the-art campus at Research Triangle Park, just minutes away from her workplace at IBM.

“I would go straight from work to the RTP campus, finish my classes and be able to get home,” she remembers. “And if I wasn’t able to do that at the RTP campus, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do the program.”

Trunzo credits the Jenkins MBA with teaching her the skills to succeed “at a business level, not just a technical level.” This in turn helped her take greater ownership of business decisions when she assumed her current executive role at PointSource, a development and design firm that helps major enterprises with their mobile strategy.

The MBA program also presented Trunzo with “tons of opportunities” to advance her career, from regular networking to real-world experience with the likes of Nokia while taking an international course.

“I’ve been able to take some of the learnings from those real, live companies that I worked with — not just case studies — and apply those learnings now to my new business at PointSource,” she says.

Trunzo’s connection to the Jenkins program endured after graduation. She keeps in touch with Dr. Steve Allen, associate dean for graduate programs and research, and also teaches Saturday workshops. When PointSource is hiring, the company always considers the ready pool of talent at NC State.

Both those human resources and the hands-on skills offered by the Jenkins program continue to benefit Trunzo’s career and her company. All in all, she says, “Choosing to do my MBA was one of the best decisions that I could have possibly made.”

See more about Stephanie in this video.

 

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