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Student Profiles

Pat Johnson

Undergraduate Degree
Organizational Management from APU

Employment
I am the Vice President of Finance and Administration for Rise Alaska, LLC, a program/construction management firm. Current projects include the Ted Stevens International Airport and the Anchorage Museum expansion. Previous projects include the Alaska SeaLife Center, the Kodiak Launch Complex and the new Anchorage Jail.

Career Goals
To bring leadership and develop the organizational structure within my current company in order to position it for continued growth and success.

Why APU
The small class size and interactive/experiential learning style at APU is very attractive to me. The instructors are a great mix of academic and real world experience and typically utilize relevant current world situations for class projects. Working closely with fellow students in a team environment has been great. Many of the classes focus on projects that are process as well as results oriented. This develops skills in working relationships as well as technical knowledge.

Advice for future MBA students
While the educational experience at APU is geared towards the individual, you will develop friendships and business contacts that will enhance your professional life. The content knowledge you will gain can be utilized in a variety of work environments from non-profit to corporate.

 

Desiree Disotell

Undergraduate Degree
My undergraduate degree is in Organizational Management from APU. I finished here in Alaska after attending University of Idaho majoring in French.

Employment
National Wildlife Federation

Career Goals
I would like to continue my education by either obtaining a law degree or pursuing employment that utilizes the “softer skills” I have learned in the MBA program such as organizational behavior or development, perhaps in an HR position.

Why APU
APU allows me the flexibility I need in order to complete a degree program. In addition, the small classes allow me to develop better relationships with other students and professors. This is an invaluable source of personal motivation and inspiration, and something I didn’t find at other schools.

Favorite feature of the MBA Program
I have thoroughly enjoyed the “experiential approach” to learning that allows me to get out of the classroom and also gives me the opportunity to learn within my own work environment.

Advice for future MBA students
I think the most important thing to share with prospective students is that not all schools are the same when it comes to their approach to learning, and the learning experience can make all the difference in how much you value your degree.

 

Art Toumanik

Graduate Degree
MBA in Telecommunications Management.

Employment
My previous employer was GCI (worked as a programmer) before I started my graduate degree at APU. Currently I am just going to school full-time.

Career Goals
Receive a master’s degree from APU and find a career that would utilize my new skills and education.

Why APU
APU was the only university in Alaska that offered a MBA in Telecommunications.

Favorite feature of the MBA Program
I really enjoyed the professionalism of the faculty and staff. At APU every student gets personalized attention and lots of interaction with instructors and fellow students.

Advice for future MBA students
Get to know you fellow students. Working creatively and effectively with others is one of the keys to your success.

 

Michael Orr

Undergraduate Degree
BA Economics cum laude, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 1998

Employment
Director of Development, Alaska Village Initiatives 2001 – 2003 Commercial Relationship Associate, National Bank of Alaska 1998 – 2001

Career Goals
To develop my skills in project financing.

Why APU
APU has a reputation for focusing on individual learning needs. Additionally, the school attracts students with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. It is truly a learning environment.

Favorite feature of the MBA Program
I really appreciated APU’s focus on group dynamics and communication. The APU MBA program helped me develop the professional and interpersonal communication skills that are an excellent complement to any analytical skill. I am confident that the skills I acquired at APU will help me advance both professionally and personally.

Advice for future MBA students
The most important thing to consider when returning to college for an advanced degree is to determine what program will be right for you and will do the most to develop you both as a team member and team leader. There are a multitude of schools and programs to choose from, but be sure to factor in the level of personal attention that you will receive, since it will be critical to your success both during your program and afterwards.

 

Lisa Phillips

Undergraduate Degree
B.S. Textiles Management Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA

Employment
Alaska Communications Systems

Career Goals
My career goal is to develop my role in the Alaskan telecommunication industry as a strategic and decision making participant. The M.B.A in Telecommunications strengthens my regulatory background and positions me in the telecommunications industry to analyze and advocate for changes in public policy and regulations in the public utility regulatory environment.

Why APU
I chose APU for its reputation and the availability of telecommunication coursework which I believed would assist me with my position at Alaska Communications Systems as well as fulfill the course requirements for my M.B.A. My original goal was to earn a M.B.A with an emphasis on technology related coursework. I envisioned that this would include Internet Marketing and E-Business but after taking telecommunication courses as electives, I decided that the more specialized master’s degree fit my career goals.

Favorite feature of the MBA Program
I have enjoyed the interaction with my fellow students as we observed changes in the business world. During my coursework at APU, there have been significant changes in the accountability of publicly held companies because of the accounting fiascos of Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom. Because of the flexibility of the instructors and the small classes, the syllabus of courses was easily changed and adapted to incorporate current business events in both the telecommunication classes as well as business coursework.

Advice for future MBA students
Because of Alaska Pacific University’s size and teaching philosophy, prospective students should recognize that one of the benefits of APU is its flexibility. For master’s seeking students with full time jobs, this is very important in choosing a school program.