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Herzing Success Stories
Stephanie Dennis

Full Speed Ahead

How One Working Mother Earned Her MBA Without Missing a Beat

Problem: Finding a Flexible Degree Program

Stephanie Dennis had been working for a major multinational bank for eight years and had recently started a family. Things were going well, and a promotion to a higher-level managerial position was a strong possibility. Dennis wasn’t about to let it slip by.

“Earning my MBA seemed like a good next step,” Dennis said. “I knew that continuing my education would help set me apart from other candidates. In some fields, an MBA has become almost a requirement for advanced positions.”

But a full-time MBA program isn’t a realistic option for most working professionals. Like Dennis, many are juggling a career, family and a host of other responsibilities that come with being a working parent.

Graduate students cite a variety of professional, financial and personal motivations for continuing their education, such as increasing their earning potential, unlocking advancement opportunities and feeling a sense of accomplishment.

More students are enrolling in graduate business programs today than ever before. With good reason, too: over 77% of employers sought to hire MBA graduates in 2019, according to a report from the Graduate Management Admission Council.

For Dennis, her work and her family were still her top priorities. Finding a flexible online degree program that fit her schedule was essential to her success, but it proved to be no easy task.

Dennis encountered some early roadblocks when the local university she was enrolled at unexpectedly shut down. Luckily, she was able to transfer all her prior credits to Herzing. Herzing’s staff helped match her completed coursework to the new curriculum, allowing her to pick up virtually where she left off.

“I had put in so much work already, and I didn’t want to start over,” Dennis said. “I reached out to other schools in my area, but Herzing was the first to respond. They were so understanding and helpful, and I could tell that they cared about me and the situation that I was in. I knew Herzing was the right choice.”

Stephanie Dennis

Stephanie Dennis


Having a family and a job while also going back to school is full of stress and challenges. I knew that it was going to be difficult, but I felt that it was something I had to do – both for my career and for myself.

Solution: Continuing the Journey at Herzing

Herzing’s online MBA program was also the perfect solution for Dennis’ hectic schedule. The program allowed her to manage her classes and assignments without forgoing her responsibilities at work or home.

“At the time, I was running a full department and raising my family,” Dennis said. “There were times that I had to turn in an assignment a few days late, but I knew that my instructors were there for me. They were always very supportive of me.”

The first day of a new course never went by without a personal call or text from Dennis’ advisor, who would check in regularly to make sure she was staying on top of her deadlines and had everything that she needed to be successful.

“My instructors and advisors got to know me. I wasn’t just another name or another voice on the phone. I was a person,” she said. “There were always adequate resources available to me and personalized support. That made all the difference.”

Dennis also enjoyed Herzing’s solutions-based curriculum, which helps students develop critical managerial and leadership skills by applying business concepts to real-world scenarios.

“My instructors had practical experiences that brought additional value to our class discussions and they helped me understand how I could apply classroom learnings in the workplace,” she said. “I had a business law class that helped me better understand certain aspects of my work. I became more knowledgeable in my field, and I was able to be more responsive to the problems that I encountered on the job.”

She didn’t have to wait until graduation to reap the benefits of her new knowledge, either. While in the middle of the MBA program, Dennis was promoted to a senior managerial position at her company, where she would oversee roughly 300 team members.

Finally, after just nine months at Herzing, Dennis walked across the commencement stage. She had done it.

“I walked in for graduation and Heather Boes, who is the Director of Educational Funding at Herzing-Minneapolis and had been one of my biggest supporters throughout the program, looked at me and said, ‘It was a little rough to start, but you’ve done it.’” Dennis recalled. “That was such a huge validation of the choice that I made to enroll at Herzing, and I was proud of my decision to not give up.”

Result: Career on the Fast Track

In her new role, Dennis can put into practice many of the valuable strategic and critical-thinking skills that she developed at Herzing.

“I’ve certainly become a better leader and manager since graduating,” Dennis said. “I think that earning an MBA benefits you in almost everything you do, whether it is professional writing, business communication, building your brand or making your resume shine.”

Most MBA graduates would agree.

According to a survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council, 93% of MBA alumni said they would pursue their degree again. Most of them agree that their education better prepared them for leadership positions and increased their earning potential. Many graduates would recommend a graduate management education to a friend or colleague.

Two of Dennis’ close colleagues went back to school while Dennis was finishing her MBA at Herzing. Both women later revealed that Dennis had proved that balancing a job, a family and a degree was possible and convinced them that they could do it too.

Through Herzing’s MBA program, students learn transformative management and problem-solving skills that differentiate them as leaders in today’s workforce. Students can specialize in their skillset by pursuing concentrations in accounting and finance, healthcare management, human resources, project management and technology management, and opt to pursue valuable industry certifications for additional competitive advantage.

“I do not doubt that my degree and the great experience that I had at Herzing will support my long-term career success,” Dennis said. “I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

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