Graduate Spotlight: Bethany Schira

Graduate Spotlight - Bethany Schira - MBA
Graduate Spotlight - Bethany Schira - MBA
Graduate Spotlight - Bethany Schira - MBA

Graduate Spotlight: Bethany Schira

As Kettering University Online’s (KUO) Program Development Manager and Senior Instructional Designer, I have the pleasure of meeting our graduating students. In this new blog series, we highlight a few of our graduates who come from a wide range of educational, career, and geographical backgrounds.

This time, we are happy to spend some time shining the Graduate Spotlight on Bethany Schira. Bethany recently graduated from Kettering University Online’s MBA program. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

JL: Hi Bethany! Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. Let’s start by sharing a little bit about your background and professional experience prior to pursuing the Online MBA program at Kettering University.
BS: Of course. Sure. So, before pursuing my MBA, I was already a proud Kettering alumnus, having received my Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering. My time in co-op while attending Kettering allowed me to work at my current employer, Tenneco. I spent my co-op years as an NVH engineering co-op and worked with CAD and FEA for research and development on brake pads. My co-op experience provided me with an opportunity to join Tenneco full-time, post-graduation, as a rotational engineer, where I spent two years working in Tenneco’s Skokie, IL facility and two years working in their Smithville, TN facility. Once I graduated from the rotational program, I found myself being really interested in the program management job. Soon, I was hired and started working with Tenneco’s Clevite brand as a Program Manager, and I am still doing that today!

JL: That is so great! How did you find, and why did you choose, Kettering University Online?
BS: My previous experience with Kettering introduced me to the graduate options. I found the Online option best fit my needs as I currently reside in Nashville, TN and needed a degree program that would complement my schedule.

JL: Was there a moment during your program that stood out as being particularly insightful or exciting?
BS: The most insightful part of the MBA program, in my opinion, was the capstone course. The material in this course brought all of the previous course material together. I found myself looking back at previously completed assignments to help tailor my approach to the final paper for the capstone. It was pretty clear, when carrying out this assignment that I think I actually learned something and could apply it firsthand!

JL: That is our Lean Today-Use Tomorrow philosophy in action! How about a moment that was particularly challenging? How did you overcome that challenge?
BS: A moment I found particularly challenging was the first class I took in the MBA program. Managing People and Organizations was the first graduate-level course I had ever taken, so the APA publication manual and online library resources became my best friends. Once I got in the flow of how classes were formatted and understood the expectations for papers and discussion posts, I found a really good rhythm that helped me along with the rest of the courses. However, the first class was the most challenging as I was forging a new path!

JL: It sounds like the program offered valuable opportunities for skill development. In terms of the curriculum, which courses or subjects had the most impact on your learning and career growth?
BS: Financial management and strategic management have both been valuable in my current role as a program manager. While not directly managing financials but having to report on them for part-specific programs, I learned some helpful technical skills and a language that has helped me communicate better with directors and other higher-ups. Strategic management has helped me guide my team to try and reach and improve on program milestones, while also taking time to resolve problems and mitigate the risks that arise by working on condensed timing for projects.

JL: What skills do you think this program has helped you to enhance?
BS: Written communication is the first skill that comes to mind. Being able to dictate a thought or direction concisely was something that was strengthened in the discussion posts. The second skill that comes to mind is thinking critically but also creatively. There was not one assignment that had an obvious answer, so exploring the topic and deciding on an answer took a lot of research but also a lot of understanding.

JL: Now that you’ve completed the program, how would you describe your overall experience, and what were some of your key takeaways?
BS: My overall experience with the online MBA program was positive. Taking the time to focus on learning and growing as a student and employee is something that I have found myself to have a passion for. So now, I use that passion for continuous education to gain insight and knowledge, which helps me plan for the future.

JL: As a recent graduate, what advice would you give to someone who is considering pursuing an Online MBA program, particularly at Kettering University?
BS: Take the jump! The time it takes to complete this degree is minuscule compared to the value it can offer. Whether it helps you achieve a career goal or if it just helps bring further purpose to who you are, it’s worth it to start now!

JL: How has earning an Online MBA from Kettering University impacted your professional opportunities? Have you noticed any significant changes?
BS: While no significant changes have happened with my completion of this degree, I do know that it helps to make me a little more competitive when I apply for things in the future!

JL: Looking back at your time as an Online MBA student, were there any standout resources, such as online tools, support services, or faculty, you found particularly helpful?
BS: The online library resources were truly invaluable to my research for all assignments. I knew I could always find reliable sources using the online catalog and could find plenty of other information that would help shape my assignments.

JL: How do you think an Online MBA program, such as the one at Kettering University, compares to traditional, on-campus MBA programs? Are there any notable advantages or disadvantages?
BS: I think the largest advantage was being able to have the freedom to complete my coursework wherever work took me! Travel is an integral part of my job, so not being tied down to a specific location was really nice. I also ended up moving during my MBA program, so all I really needed to do was pack up my laptop and books, and I was ready to continue on and finish my MBA!

JL: What are your plans or aspirations for the future? How do you envision leveraging your Online MBA degree from Kettering University in your career?
BS: Kettering University has a positive reputation in the automotive industry. Not only having my BSME but also my MBA from Kettering, I think, gives me better credibility. I, for sure, will find the value of my MBA as I progress in my career and look to start managing larger teams.

JL: Bethany, thank you again for taking the time to share your experience with us!
BS: My pleasure!

KUO, once again, congratulates Bethany Schira on receiving her MBA degree, and we wish her the best of luck in all of her future endeavors!

If you are interested in becoming a student, visit Kettering University Online for information about our graduate degree programs.