Name: Erin Buckman
Program: Professional Evening MBA alum
Occupation: IT Change Manager, Credit Suisse
Previous Education: B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Communication, UNC Chapel Hill, 2008
When Erin Buckman came to the Jenkins Professional MBA program, she wanted to gain experience in a completely new realm. She had degrees in Psychology and Communication but knew she needed an edge to compete in the business world.
“My undergrad degrees were neither technical nor financial,” Erin said. “At the same time, I’ve always been interested in technology.”
Today, Erin is Change Manager in Information Technology at Credit Suisse, where she’s worked since 2008.
A 2013 graduate of NC State’s Jenkins Professional MBA program, Erin recently achieved Six Sigma Black Belt certification.
Her previous role in Service Excellence at Credit Suisse led her to Six Sigma training, and an opportunity to conduct front-to-back process reviews of different departments in the company. “That role, in a large part, came about due to my MBA and the information I got from my classes,” Erin said.
Erin said she chose the Jenkins MBA program to gain knowledge and insight into finance, accounting, innovation and technology – all subjects that are available as part of the Professional MBA track.
And, with Jenkins Professional MBA courses located at Research Triangle Park, Erin said she was able to advance her career while building her professional network and her personal brand.
“Not only the course options and the ability to have a more technical track, but also being physically located at RTP was a great help,” Erin said. “Being able to go to classes just a few minutes up the road from where I worked was a huge benefit.”
Q: You talked about the technical and financial skills you wanted to gain from an MBA program – how did the Jenkins MBA give you that edge?
A: Well, I was working on a Green Belt project at Credit Suisse, and I realized that the whole business process management, Six Sigma world was an area I wanted to pursue. I knew NC State is a leader in Supply Chain Management, and I knew I could gain a lot of experience in business process management – that it would add a process improvement perspective. What I learned was all very interconnected, and it contributed to my getting Black Belt certification.
Q: What areas of focus in the Jenkins MBA program helped set you apart in the market?
A: The program offers opportunities to gain knowledge in technology and entrepreneurship – taking an idea, commercializing a technology, knowing what you have to do to turn a cutting-edge idea into a marketable product. In my position, we’re obviously a part of IT and part of the process of change and technological evolution. Other students focused on entrepreneurship, and even though that isn’t a part of my career path, it does change how I see possibilities. And it helps me to push the envelope a little more, to be more agile.
Q: How has the Jenkins MBA improved your future career outlook?
A: I feel that, through the NC State MBA program, I found what I’m passionate about. It was through the MBA program and the completion of my Black Belt that I realized IT process improvement is an area that I love. In my job, I’m taking pain points, making people’s lives better and saving the company money – it’s been a good experience and it’s something I enjoy.
Q: What about the Jenkins Professional MBA sets it apart from other MBA programs?
A: There’s the focus on technology, and the options available for coursework. There’s the location at Research Triangle Park, which gives you an opportunity to network with classmates and share experiences with colleagues from other companies in the area.
Q: What advice would you offer to professionals looking to advance their careers with an MBA?
A: Set goals at the start of your educational experience. But, even prior to that, think about what you want out of your MBA. This program is a chance to get more technical skills, more business skills, but for me, it was also an opportunity to leverage the rich contacts I was making and build out my network, both me and my classmates. NC State did a great job of meeting all of my needs. Not just any other MBA program out there could have done that.