Comfort zones. We all have them. Some of us would like to get out of them. Some of us already have.
Gretchen Freeman-Cromar, a soon-to-be Chancellor University MBA alumna, doesn’t like to stay in hers long. After spending more than 10 years working in the accounting industry, Gretchen decided to step out of her career comfort zone and try her hand in the world of technology.
“Over the years I had just gone through two or three or seven software changes as an accountant and had always been on the learning end,” she said. “I liked having a trainer and I always thought being a software trainer would be really cool. I made a deliberate choice to change careers.”
During the six years since she left her position as an auditor, Gretchen has worked her way from project manager to vice president of client services. Today, she is a Services Practice Manager for a Microsoft Dynamics partner, where she manages 17 project managers and developers who deliver business solutions for small to mid-sized businesses.
Even with such tremendous success, Gretchen still felt the need to expand her horizons, and push herself further outside her comfort zone.
“I’m in the software industry and work with Microsoft accounting packages,” said Freeman-Cromar. “It’s competitive. People are really smart. If you just sit around and do the same thing and not learn, you’re going to get passed over.”
Chancellor University’s MBA program provided Gretchen with an opportunity to expand her business credentials, while also giving her the flexibility to work, travel and learn at a pace that suited her needs.
Additionally, Gretchen wanted a program that was well-rounded and could better prepare her in areas where she lacked knowledge previously.
“The MBA program content at Chancellor included people skills, soft skills, analytical skills and entrepreneurial coursework,” she said. “What I love about it is that it forces you out of comfort zone to evaluate a business more completely.”
In particular, Gretchen cites her Strategy and Analytical Statistics classes as those that challenged her the most positively.
“I learned the most in these classes abut topics and areas that I never work in,” she said. “The course work was tough but rewarding.”
Gretchen also experienced the finer points of collaboration with fellow MBA students in the program.
“It’s a diverse range of students and the same material is being applied in completely different ways, with people in different industries,” she said. “It really forces you to develop collaborative skills and find common ground, which is invaluable.”
Perhaps the most valuable lesson Gretchen has taken away from her studies at Chancellor is this:
“My experience at CU has taught me that the most detrimental factor to a person’s career is allowing yourself to be pigeon-holed into one thing. The CU MBA offers a solution to approaching your career with a more open mind and a broader skill set than if you just stay in your specialized area of expertise.”
So exactly how does a successful, soon-to-be graduate from the Chancellor University MBA program plan to spend her post-MBA time?
“I’m going to have a big party to celebrate. I intend to work on my tennis game, read a lot of books, possibly get a puppy,” she said. “And of course, apply what I have worked hard to learn in the program to doing my very best work at the office.”
For more information about the Chancellor University MBA programs, please contact CUAdmissions@ChancellorU.edu or call 888.316.9377 to speak to an admissions representative directly.