In her work as a vice president at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Annamarie Beaulieu supports strategic initiatives and research that contribute to new therapies and better medical care for children.
Beaulieu, who also has a master’s degree in public health from UConn and has raised four children to adulthood, has long known that maternal and child health was her passion.
But to advance in her work in establishing Connecticut Children’s Research Institute and Center for Innovation, Beaulieu determined that she needed to deepen her business knowledge.
This spring, she will graduate from UConn with an Executive MBA degree. Beaulieu will serve as the class speaker at the EMBA award ceremony on Saturday.
A combination of experience, ability, and her deepening business knowledge gave Beaulieu the advantage she needed to earn a promotion from senior director to vice president at Connecticut Children’s just seven months ago.
“The EMBA program has given me more confidence to talk about the fundamentals of our business, a better understanding of how to contribute to our planning efforts in an innovative and more meaningful way, and to always look for opportunities to build and sustain strong teams,’’ she said. “I look forward to staying involved with the UConn EMBA program in the years to come, and supporting new students in realizing their full potential.’’
EMBA Program Was Life-Changing
Lillanya ‘Lily’ Dantzler, has a master’s degree in social work and a big job with Trinity Healthcare, which encompasses 100 hospitals nationwide.
Although she wanted to become a COO, Dantzler was reluctant to pursue an MBA, finding business a bit intimidating. A good friend and UConn EMBA alumnus recommended the program to her. She will also graduate this spring.
Dantzler, a Senior Performance Management Consultant who specializes in the corporate revenue cycle, said she uses the knowledge she gained through the program every day in budget discussions. But the expertise she has gain has also broadened her career perspective.
“This program has been absolutely life-changing for me,’’ she said. “I thought I’d become a better businessperson, and it would help me make my way into the c-suite. My goal when I began the program was to become a COO.’’
“Now, I’m looking to open my own business,’’ she said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think about that before, but my EMBA experience inspired me. I’ve learned that when people have an idea, whether for a small business or a Fortune 500 company, it changes the world.’’
The EMBA program exposed her to business knowledge, a new network of colleagues, and new ideas. The program’s international trip to Costa Rica fueled her interest in business, sustainability, and reducing her own carbon footprint.
“The program made me a better woman. I’ve grown so much. I’m sure I could create a business and take it to the next level. That’s what UConn gave to me,’’ she said. “I now believe I can change the world. I have the confidence!’’
An Education For People ‘Looking To Do Big Things’
Professor Stephen Park, the academic director of the EMBA program, said the UConn EMBA appeals to students who are seeking academic rigor, the opportunity to learn alongside accomplished peers, and an in-person format.
The UConn Executive MBA is ranked among the Top 20 in the nation, according to a Forbes rankings released last fall. The program earned recognition because of its ability to attract top students, outstanding reputation among corporations, and alumni representation in senior management of Fortune 1000 companies.
The EMBA program, run in small cohorts of no more than 30 students, has high admissions standards and caters to mid-career professionals who have substantial experience and expertise in their fields. The program attracts leaders in healthcare, manufacturing, financial services, insurance, media and entertainment, science, law, entrepreneurship, government and non-profits.
“All of our EMBA students aim to do big things,’’ Park said. “They believe in the value of learning the workings of business. The diversity of professional backgrounds enables people to draw on and learn from the real-world experiences of their classmates. We seek to cultivate that cross-fertilization in the classroom.’’
“In the EMBA program, students get a great deal of personal attention from faculty,’’ he said. “There’s something to be said about the close relationships that students develop with each other, as well as with our faculty, and by joining a network of alumni in leadership across industries and sectors in Connecticut and throughout the country.’’
Beaulieu agreed. “We learned so much from each other and our different perspectives. That was unexpected for me,’’ she said. “It helped make for a robust experience, and I will miss them all so much.’’
International Travel a Key Component of EMBA
Another highlight of the EMBA program is an international immersion course mid-way through the program. UConn students have traveled to South Africa, China, Russia, Hong Kong, Turkey, Portugal, Argentina and more. The most recent trip was to Costa Rica.
The travel augments what they’re learning in the classroom and often exposes EMBA candidates to emerging markets. During their trip, students visit a variety of firms, both in size and industry, and engage with leaders.
“Our students tell us this immersion trip has been one of their favorite experiences,’’ said professor Robin Coulter, head of the marketing department, who leads the trip as an EMBA faculty member. “We select countries that are not typically as developed as the U.S. and Western markets. They see things through a different lens.’’
“In South Africa and Costa Rica, for instance, we explore the idea of thinking about sustainability. We look at the partnerships between businesses, NGOs and governments and how they are addressing these large problems, like poverty, clean water, and climate change,’’ Coulter said. “They see business as a force for social good, and that’s powerful. Our students learn about initiatives that are bigger than business.’’
Moving to a New Level Requires a New Perspective
Alumnus Sam Geiger, ’22 EMBA, is a vice president at OPAL Fuels and Fortistar Capital in White Plains, N.Y. Before embarking on his recent career path, he was a commanding officer in the U.S. Navy, where he served for 27 years. He also has a master’s degree in engineering from MIT.
“I was in the Navy for 27 years but now I’m starting my second career. I consider myself a life-long learner who enjoys growing knowledge and experience,’’ he said. “In today’s economy, there is so much movement in careers and companies, and businesses are rapidly evolving. I work in renewable energy, and I wanted to be prepared for anything that comes along.’’
Geiger, who will be inducted as a student member of the UConn School of Business Hall of Fame on Friday, said he enjoyed the finance classes and the exposure to current topics. He is using financial models that he learned in the UConn EMBA program as he weighs a potential acquisition at work.
“I really enjoyed my classmates’ vast perspectives on issues. With EMBA or with students who have life experience you get a broader group of backgrounds from a career perspective,’’ he said. “Name any industry in Connecticut, and it was represented in the program. It was very eye-opening to see their different perspectives.’’
Although he had leadership experience in the military, he felt he gained a new perspective for civilian business.
“If you’re moving to another level and taking on new responsibilities, you need a new perspective for the role,’’ he said. “The EMBA program challenges the way you look at business.’’
Geiger said an in-person cohort was valuable to him. He said he wanted to sit alongside his classmates, not view them on a monitor.
“When I looked at all the options in this region, the value was clear,’’ he said. “What UConn offered was far more competitive than many others.’’