The one change participants would make in the Regis Professional MBA? Open it to the public.
If you ask about her story, Judy Lauch BS ’68, MEd, MBA ‘22 will tell you “My uniqueness is my age.” While it’s true that you don’t find many 75 year olds who are pursuing their MBA, this degree is really just the latest in a series of unique -- some would say pioneering -- career and personal accomplishments. Born in Cambridge, raised in Waltham, and a product of a K-12 Catholic school education, Lauch began at Regis majoring in math, a rarity for women of the era. When she graduated in 1968 majoring in psychology and minoring in math, it was less driven by professional ambitions than a simple reflection of what she enjoyed studying, but fortuitously, a career followed. IBM, the dominant force in technology at the time, came to Regis, then a women’s college, searching for software engineers.
“They needed to recruit their future software engineers, and to get a mix of males and females, recruiting at an all-female school was forward thinking of them,” Lauch recalls. “I never heard of system or application software developers before IBM's visit to campus. I was never intimidated by the thought of joining what sounded like a male profession, as I was taught by extremely bright and independent women!”
It was the beginning of a successful 31 year career with “big blue,” after which she served on boards and volunteered for YWCA Boston, The Community Builders, Inc., City Year and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
“Once I became intrigued by, and enrolled in, the MEd-SS program, I thought about an MBA,” she explains. “Throughout my IBM career I had always admired others with an MBA degree but it never felt like the right time for me to take an educational leave from IBM to gain the degree. I was advancing well within the company without it. But when I spoke with Dean [William] Koehler, I realized it was the perfect time for me, and Regis had the perfect opportunity.”
A more recent graduate, Ariana (Ari) Kane McCormack BA ’20 MA ’23 MBA ’24 (she/her/hers), was a recruit for the women’s tennis team and recipient of the Presidential Catholic Scholarship which covered her full tuition. The Worcester native always assumed she would become a lawyer, so much so that she majored in Communication as an undergraduate largely to have “a more unique application for law school.”
During the pandemic, she decided that starting a non-profit organization for tennis education and equity “was my true calling.” As she pursues her MBA, Ari has found that “my Regis undergraduate education prepared me to handle the work load, be able to adapt, think logistically, and put myself out of my comfort zone.”
Judy and Ari represent a different student population for John P. Christie, PhD associate professor of management and economics and department of business management chair at the Marshall M. Sloane School of Business and Communication. Perhaps surprisingly, Christie finds that teaching in the MBA program, where many students do not have a business background, is no more challenging than teaching business students. “Being full-time in the workforce has exposed most of the MBA students to the day-to-day functions of businesses,” he explains, “and so even new material can be grasped fairly quickly.”
Since the Regis Professional MBA program is open only to its students and graduates, Christie also finds that “the students are already familiarized with Regis and how things function, as well as the culture of the school, so it seems like there is less of a transition type of period and they are ready to hit the ground running in many ways.”
Despite this benefit, Christie says he “would like to see the program eventually be offered to the general public. The MBA is the most popular graduate degree on Earth so there is demand and the existing online/asynchronous structure of our program makes it highly accessible to those who otherwise would not be able to access a Regis graduate business education due to otherwise limiting factors such as time zones, work/life schedules, and geography.”
Ari concurs. “It is great because we know a good amount of folks from either undergrad or graduate school, but I would like to see it expand. I think everyone can benefit from an MBA in whatever field you go into, it makes you adaptable, creative, and logical when handling a situation.”
Lauch says her MBA courses “have all been exactly what I hoped for and more!” Yet for now, she is focused on applying her MEd to help with early detection of reading difficulties. However, she adds, “I strongly encourage other alums to consider this path whether one sees the degree as a well needed career stepping-stone or to modernize ones' knowledge.”