Success Stories
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November 25, 2019 |
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Leadership Student Puts Management Theory Into Practice

Christine York was drawn to the MS in Leadership because of the program’s flexibility. What surprised her is how quickly she gained tools that helped her solve business problems.

By Jenny McKeel
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Christine York, Principal Process Excellence and Program Manager at a San Francisco biotech company, wanted to pursue an MBA but wasn’t sure which program was the best fit. She was attracted to GGU’s MS in Leadership because the curriculum emphasized hot topics—like Agile transformation and creative leadership—that reflected conversations happening at her company. The flexibility within the program convinced her the MS in Leadership was right for her.

“The fact that I could select my own concentration is what it made it a great fit for me. I was working full time while going back to school. Knowing I could tailor the program to my interests made it that much easier to make the commitment,” said Christine.

Real-World Applications

Christine found that her coursework was applicable to her role and her career. Senior leaders and executives at her company had started implementing Agile and Lean transformations as well as complex change thinking—management frameworks that help businesses thrive in a flexible, collaborative, self-organizing, fast-changing environment. Christine’s colleagues were impressed that she had the ability to teach others these same concepts.

“I was able to use the new terminology I had learned to explain to senior leadership how we would be able to succeed at solving problems where we hadn’t been able to before. That was powerful for me.”

“Some of the leaders in my organization were familiar with these concepts strategically, but they didn’t necessarily know how to implement them throughout the organization. That’s a skill set I’m able to bring. I’m able to explain how these concepts apply to our business groups. It’s one thing to send staff to a leadership development training. It’s completely different when you have someone in-house who can then help leaders and teams put these ideas into practice. That’s the value I’ve gained.”

Complex Change

In the course Leading Complex Change, Christine learned more about new approaches to organizational change. She applied new models to an ongoing challenge at work – models including Agile, which allows teams to create products in short, fast increments amid rapidly changing requirements. Within her organization, Christine’s team faced challenges related to onboarding new employees. She used the new change models to get her team to think about a multi-pronged, iterative approach to address the complex issues involved in managing this  problem.

“We can’t just spend $5 million dollars in the next 12 months on one big solution and expect it will work,” said Christine. “What I learned at GGU is if we implement a few smaller solution experiments, reevaluate, and then revise our approach – that can add more value, more quickly. Utilizing some of the new models, I was able to get a 12-month project implementation plan approved, where we are using this iterative solution approach, modifying as we learn what works and what doesn’t. What made the difference is that I was able to use the new terminology I had learned to explain to senior leadership how we would be able to succeed at solving problems where we hadn’t been able to before. That was powerful for me.”

Resilience Training

Beyond the tangible problem-solving frameworks Christine has gained, she has also learned resilience in the face of uncertainty.

“I’m able to handle a lot of changes at work better because I have a higher level understanding of business environments in disruption. I don’t get as frustrated in the face of reorganization  as I might have before. Now I know how to prepare for uncertainty. I can look at things with a new frame of mind, which has reduced my stress and allowed me to be there for other people in my professional life as well as my personal life.”

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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On his 93rd birthday, we still face the same injustices that Reverend King fought tirelessly to correct, reminding us that we must always fight for justice.

Today, we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy with an official campus holiday. #MLK
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“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On his 93rd birthday, we still face the same injustices that Reverend King fought tirelessly to correct, reminding us that we must always fight for justice.

Today, we honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and his legacy with an official campus holiday. #MLK

Located in the heart of San Francisco's business and technology community, GGU has always offered proximity to hiring companies that makes it easy for students to network, access internships, and build relationships.

During the pandemic, our move to all-online courses has allowed more students to access a GGU education, online internships, and virtual networking opportunities. We're committed to to bringing the Bay Area's culture of innovation and diversity to all our online degree and certificate programs, virtual job fairs, alumni events, and online workshops and seminars. In everything we do, we pledge to bring the spirit and ethos of GGU to the virtual space.
... See MoreSee Less

Located in the heart of San Franciscos business and technology community, GGU has always offered proximity to hiring companies that makes it easy for students to network, access internships, and build relationships.

During the pandemic, our move to all-online courses has allowed more students to access a GGU education, online internships, and virtual networking opportunities. Were committed to to bringing the Bay Areas culture of innovation and diversity to all our online degree and certificate programs, virtual job fairs, alumni events, and online workshops and seminars. In everything we do, we pledge to bring the spirit and ethos of GGU to the virtual space.

"I came to the U.S. from the Phillippines at age 13, and I struggled with a language barrier at first. I've learned that the more you put yourself out there, the better you feel. I've served as a medic in the United States Air Force, I've modeled for Good American, and I've recently started a training and consulting company to provide training and consulting solutions for veterans and other individuals and organizations to help navigate their path to success."- Janine Werling, MBA '23 ... See MoreSee Less

I came to the U.S. from the Phillippines at age 13, and I struggled with a language barrier at first. Ive learned that the more you put yourself out there, the better you feel. Ive served as a medic in the United States Air Force, Ive modeled for Good American, and Ive recently started a training and consulting company to provide training and consulting solutions for veterans and other individuals and organizations to help navigate their path to success.- Janine Werling, MBA 23

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I completed my MS in Accounting Data & Analytics program and served as the President of the Chi Pi Alpha Accounting and Tax Club to build upon my leadership skills. We hosted an info session with Deloitte, meet-and-greet with alumni, workshop with KP&G, and a CPA info session. Everybody benefitted and Im grateful for the opportunity. - Priyanka Pitale
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