Mia Hawlk, the Executive Director of MBA Programs and a relentless advocate for graduate students, will be recognized next month with a ‘Top 25 Women in Business Award‘ presented by the Hartford Business Journal.
Hawlk oversees the Online, FLEX and Executive MBA degree programs at UConn, serving 675 students. Her responsibilities have included the creation of an online MBA program two years ago, and more recently the redesign of the FLEX MBA, allowing students a highly customized education.
“It’s an honor to serve this community of rising business leaders,” Hawlk said. said. “What makes me particularly proud is UConn’s expanded access to MBA programs. We seek to engage and support people who might otherwise struggle to pursue an advanced degree, such as busy parents and people who work in the evenings.”
“When we support those students, we are supporting their entire team, whether they work in large companies or as entrepreneurs,” Hawlk said. “We’re not only helping our students discover their own potential, but creating a ripple effect of success within the community.”
Alumna Jenny Gaffney ’17 MBA, Manager of Technical Program Management at The Walt Disney Co., said Hawlk is highly regarded among MBA candidates.
“Mia is the heart of UConn,” Gaffney said. “You can’t get your MBA without knowing her. She makes a huge impact on everyone she interacts with.”
With nine courses left to complete her degree, and a new assignment to help lead the launch of ESPN+, Gaffney felt a tug-of-war with professional responsibilities and degree.
“Mia was the whole reason that I could graduate with my MBA so quickly,” said Gaffney. Hawlk helped her arrange a complex but manageable schedule and encouraged her to take an international trip to France to complete her degree requirements. “She was my cheerleader and my champion,” Gaffney said. “She told me, ‘You’ll do it, and you’ll be just fine.'”
Hawlk joined UConn in 2014. She is actively engaged in the national MBA community and was appointed to the national PMBA/OMBA Advisory Board in 2020. Her professional credentials include a doctorate in educational leadership.
Her next goal is to create an MBA scholarship for women entrepreneurs.
“It would help attract talented students who might not otherwise consider an MBA,” she said. “MBA students not only increase their own earning potential, but women entrepreneurs are known to create opportunity for others, so the trickle-down impact would be profound.”
“Mia’s unparalleled dedication to her students and unwavering work ethic make her deserving of this recognition,” said Professor Jose Cruz, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at the UConn School of Business. “We are proud of Mia and this exceptional accomplishment.”
The Hartford Business Journal will honor Hawlk and the other award recipients at a May 4 reception, from 5 to 8 p.m. at The Aqua Turf Club in Southington. For tickets or more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org