After nearly six years in the technology sector, Sax-Barnett, 37, decided that her professional ambitions had outpaced her educational background.
Sax-Barnett, who earned a philosophy degree as an undergraduate, already had a good job with local tech startup Airship, but her curiosity and analytical mindset pushed her to enroll in the Oregon Executive MBA program. And the convenience of the program, along with the Lundquist College's convenient facility in Old Town Portland, made it doable with a family and full-time job.
"I [realized that] without further education I could probably make it up to director level at some point, and that's about it. And I [asked myself], am I OK with that?" she says. "And the more I thought about it, I was like no, I want to try to do something else."
Sax-Barnett's decision paid off. At the start of her second year in the program, she stepped into a new role at Airship, serving as the company's director of customer engineering.
The emphasis on student collaboration at the Oregon Executive MBA was especially appealing, as well as the opportunity to study business overseas on a global study trip. Reflecting on her professional trajectory, Sax-Barnett believes that she made the right choice in waiting to pursue a higher degree, in part because of the confidence it has given her as a leader.
"I would have been much less prepared as a new graduate from an undergrad program that I was starting when I did, because I had all that real-world experience from working at different companies doing different things," she says.