Megan Bishop, BS’11, MBA’19, is a logistics expert. As the director of operations at supply chain consulting firm enVista, timely execution and problem solving are at the core of what she does. It was natural for Bishop to put careful and meticulous thought into her plans to return to school for an MBA. She waited until she’d gained at least five years of real-world work experience before applying.
The timing was significant.
“I enrolled in the Kelley Evening MBA Program at a tough time. I was five months pregnant and managing a large team at enVista,” she said. “I not only had a lot of work-related responsibilities, but I was about to be a new mom. I decided I wanted to move forward with my MBA because it wasn’t going to be any easier when my daughter grew older.”
Bishop is a woman who knows herself and her vulnerabilities. In her free time, she’s often reading a book about diverse teams or how to make diverse workplaces work better—and more creatively—than a typical workplace. In the Kelley Evening MBA, she was seeking that diversity.
“I’m constantly trying to improve myself, especially within supply chain. It’s a male-dominated industry, so I want to make sure I have a seat at the table,” she said. “I knew that by pursuing a Kelley MBA I would gain a more diverse experience to help me get that seat.”
To be sure, earning an MBA at a top-ranked school with rigorous coursework was a challenge. Bishop says she managed it piece by piece.
“I bit it off in small chunks, and every time I would complete a chunk, I’d say, ‘Okay move forward to the next step,’” she said. “I knew I was taking on a lot, but it’s similar to what people say about exercising: You can say you don’t have time all day, but if you want to make it work, you simply fit it in.”
Bishop jumped in and never took her foot off the pedal. True to her logistics nature, she set a time frame for her schooling, established priorities and stuck to them. When her daughter was born in August 2017, she made it work with her job, MBA and family.
“Avery Grace was born in August, so I made sure to take a lighter load of classes during that time. The following summer, I increased it a little bit more when I knew my workload at enVista tended to be lighter,” she said.
Bishop says the courses she found most translational to her day-to-day work were the 360-degree leadership weekend course and the PIVOT project – experiential learning courses that provided lessons she could immediately apply in her career.
“The lessons that I use every day, the best takeaway from the Kelley MBA in my opinion, is the 360 degree leadership weekend with professor Ken Wendeln,” she said. “I learned so much about myself and my leadership style in that weekend. It was very eye-opening to see where I see myself and where others see me, and then learn how to close that gap. It’s a process that didn’t end that weekend.”
In addition to the coursework, students in the Evening MBA Program are exposed to classmates from a variety of backgrounds and professions. Working together in cohorts, students gain an understanding of other professional paths and experiences.
“I’ve been at enVista for eight years, and I have learned a lot in my various roles and from customers from different backgrounds,” she said. “But it was still eye opening for me to meet and interact with so many different people across the entire Kelley MBA experience.”
Bishop’s decision to earn an MBA was entirely her own. Her company didn’t require one to advance, so she knew that simply having the degree wouldn’t be enough to earn a promotion. But the leadership skills she gained from career coaching with Barry Joffe and from a pivotal leadership development course with Professor Christopher OLH Porter together provided Bishop with the tools she needed to understand what she wanted from her career and how to have a conversation with her manager about achieving it.
“At the beginning of 2018, I put together a presentation for my boss on what I owned, what I’d like to own, what I’d like to do and how I’m going to get there. I told him I wanted to know what it takes to become a director within a year,” she said. “We put together a plan, and I was able to execute against that plan and earned my promotion at the beginning of 2019.”
Bishop’s skills, experience and drive certainly earned her the advanced position, but she says it was the confidence she gained from the Kelley MBA that motivated her to make the ask and create momentum toward what she wanted.
“Before the MBA, I would’ve just waited around and expected the promotion, and I would’ve been disappointed if it didn’t happen,” she said. “But with what I learned in those two classes, I knew I needed to take charge, take my plan into my own hands and make sure my boss was aware of it. That’s one big thing that I attribute to the Kelley MBA.”
Two-thirds of Kelley Evening MBAs are like Bishop; their main career goal is to earn a promotion—whether it’s advancing within a company, transitioning to a new one or starting one of their own. Bishop says the Kelley Evening MBA prepares its students to excel in the world of business.
“The experience you gain at Kelley is hands on; it’s not just sitting in a class,” she said. “You work with people from diverse backgrounds and companies, and you gain exposure to worlds that you normally wouldn’t on your own. It makes you a well-rounded person capable of working with any team, client or environment.”