When Ericka Warren, MBA '19, started at the Oregon Executive MBA program in September of 2017, she wasn't exactly sure how she would end up using her degree. A former professional vocalist, Warren, 49, had long careers as an executive administrator and a touring musician, which gave her business acumen, leadership and management skills and an understanding of the creative side of corporate development. At the Oregon Executive MBA, she took courses on the essentials of marketing, finance and statistics.
"For me, being an older student and being a student that wasn't a traditional business major, I hadn't learned all of those foundational concepts in a traditional educational setting," Warren says. "The degree definitely has sharpened my skills in those areas and given me some refreshers."
For her capstone project, Warren took on the challenge of developing strategy for the University of Oregon's new Black Cultural Center, which was still in the planning stage. This was one of several experiences that left her with a strong sense of career direction. Today, in addition to volunteering as president of the UO Black Alumni Network, Warren works as an equity consultant and counts among her clients the I-5 Rose Quarter improvement project.
The flexibility of the executive MBA program was critical for Warren, who is a single mother to a 9-year-old daughter.
"Going through the process [of the executive MBA program] while I was working two full-time jobs and being a mother, I think that lends to my ability to be able to juggle projects well and balance priorities," she said. "I'm a better person for it."