In this “MBA Reflections” blog post series, we will be featuring the profile and thoughts of a select few Whitman MBA students graduating in May 2016.
Episode 5: Madelene Bernard
Background: Computer Science Engineering
LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/madelenerabibernard
Why an MBA?
I was working with nonprofits for three to four years. In that environment you get so caught up in service that the planning and business aspects get lost. So, I began to reflect, if this could affect a nonprofit, then this could benefit me in terms of structure and growth.
Afterward, I started working with my dad in his business. I started to become client-facing and business centered, but I did not have the knowledge or experience to be able to convey messages and be an effective contributor. I realized that a degree in business would help me to better operate in that sphere.
I decided to pursue an MBA here after speaking with my personal connections and learning that Whitman has 30 to 40 students in a class. I liked the fact that the class sizes were small. I perform at my best in learning environments that are more personal.
What have you gained from your time at Whitman?
I am different now. I have learned to structure my thinking and convey my messages effectively. I can now communicate my stance, manage my time and schedule better. This experience has also given me the opportunity to develop my networking skills and I’ve gained perspective. Everyone that I’ve met has their own background, strengths and weaknesses.
What is your most memorable moment from your time at Whitman?
All of the different people, interactions and events I have been a part of throughout my time here have been memorable to me in their own way.
I interned with the Women’s Fund of Central New York as a marketing and organizational development intern. Even with my nonprofit background and experience, this was very different. The company had a structure where women were chairs of nonprofit committees, extremely successful business professionals and had successful personal lives. I learned that you can be successful as a woman professionally and personally. You don’t have to choose.
I also was a business development intern at Nestio, a startup in New York City that had just received $8 million in their second round of funding. While at Nestio, everything I said was actually put into practice, which was scary, but amazing in terms of accountability and growth. I was given the responsibility of their social media marketing. I put a report together within two weeks and the next day it was implemented. It was amazing to see my work put into action.
Are your goals or plans different since starting your MBA?
Yes, I came to Whitman focused on entrepreneurship, but I expanded my focus to include marketing because of Whitman’s Scott Lathrop, professor of marketing, and the other core marketing courses. I thought I would go back to running my family’s business, but I’ve realized that there is so much more to learn here in the United States— personally, professionally and culturally.
What is your dream job?
To work for an organization that has a wide service scope, policymaking and policy implementation.