MBA Student Perspectives

Joni Wallace

After working in analytics for over a decade, it was critical for my career growth that I broaden my skills and stay current with the transforming landscape of data science and machine learning. The Loras College EMBA in Business Analytics program had a direct impact on my role as an information leader, starting with the first course.

Breadth is critical. It isn’t only about learning the latest algorithm or simulation technique. The courses in visualization, ethics and strategy enable me to lead in the age of analytics.

The program format was well suited for my needs and lifestyle without compromising my responsibilities. I learned from professors with relevant work experiences, focused on a single subject at a time, completed the program in only two years, all while networking and curating life-long relationships with other information-driven professionals.”

– Joni Wallace,
Pr. Manager, Analytics and Data Science
Rockwell Collins, Inc.
Keith Chaston

Having graduated with a business degree from Brigham Young University Marriott School of Business and having worked at Dupaco Community Credit Union in IT for 11 years, I wanted to advance my career by having a greater impact in my job. I chose the Loras College Executive MBA in Business Analytics to gain expertise in data usage and governance to make sound business decisions. The Loras College Executive MBA program prepared me to make significant contributions at Dupaco using advanced skills in compiling raw data then standardizing it so it can be analyzed to better identify behaviors and trends to build predictive models.Because I work full time, the six weekly online interactive evening classes seamlessly dovetail with the two 8-hour classes on the seventh weekend. I appreciate that the courses are expertly sequenced to build skills which can be immediately applied in the work place. The professors are supportive and make themselves accessible which greatly augments learning. The extensive, cutting edge experience of professors and guest lecturers makes this program a one-of-a-kind, rare find in the Midwest.

As a graduate of this program, I feel empowered to make a positive difference not only in my job at Dupaco but in the community.”

– Keith Chaston
Information Technology Operations Supervisor
Dupaco Community Credit Union
Jenna Gacioch

I am an employee at a large manufacturing company. I’ve always had a passion for using data and making process improvements using that data. I received my undergraduate degree in business with an emphasis in Supply Chain Management. I’ve held many of the traditional roles within Supply Management in my career. Within these capacities I’ve made many process improvements and created long-term solutions for the business however it was using the standard applications found on a PC. I wanted to grow and learn about more sophisticated tools that could catapult my capabilities. Loras’ EMBA program has done just that!

This program is very timely. My skill set before starting the Loras program was limited to the standard spreadsheet application found on your PC. My company is really looking for more individuals that have a broader skillset and abilities to dive deep into analytics and create business solutions that utilize current technology. Loras has given me the ability to assist in creating big data solutions. My biggest take-away is being able to successfully liaison between our data professionals at John Deere and the business segments that are looking for creative and long-term solutions. I am able to decipher the complicated conversations around big data and help make suggestions that would work best for the business needs.”

– Jenna Gacioch
AE Coordinator
John Deere – Enterprise Supply Management
Eric Ernst

graduate student profile
I valued the program and am already seeing the benefits in my professional life. I hold a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Iowa. I currently have 11 years of service with John Deere in Dubuque where I have held roles as a design engineer and, most recently, as a quality engineer. I initially signed up for the EMBA program at Loras because I believed the degree would help elevate my skillset to move forward in my career but also felt the Business Analytics focus would provide something extra that isn’t widely held by others in the company. Throughout the program I was able to immediately apply learning to my job, especially in terms of navigating large amounts of data and utilizing it to communicate needs and make business decisions. As a student, I felt empowered with the new tools at my disposal and also challenged at the task of not just making fancy looking dashboards, but creating tools and reports that cause positive action within the organization. I have found a new passion for automation and creating efficiencies in the workplace and I can credit my experience at Loras for that.”

– Eric Ernst,
Quality Engineer
John Deere