I was thrilled when I learned I could major in Fashion Merchandising at St. Kate's through the Associated Colleges of the Twin Cities (ACTC) program. Even though I was a St. Thomas student, St. Kate's welcomed me into their community. My fashion merchandising classes were demanding yet interactive and enjoyable. I still have my binder of textile swatches and some textbooks saved from my fashion classes. I've held a few roles at Target, but my current role is as an analyst under the Financial Retail Services pyramid.

After starting my most recent position, I decided to pursue my MBA. My undergraduate experiences at St. Kate's were so positive. I knew I needed to become a Katie one more time if I wanted the same challenging, practical, and well-rounded education.

My advice to other Katies is to understand the fundamentals of the type of work you enjoy doing or what you want from your career. Then be open to pursuing roles that allow you to keep growing your experiences and building your resume around those fundamentals. Do that, plus network, and eventually, you will get precisely where you want to be.

Amanda Bartschenfeld MBA'18

I was trying to make a change in the type of work I was doing and was stuck. I returned to school for my MBA to elevate my education and skills and enhance my professional credibility. I picked St. Kate’s MBA program after looking into several options. A full-time program that was doable while still working full time was a must. And when I learned that social justice is embeddedinto every course, I knew this was the place for me.

My career really took off after I started the St. Kate’s MBA program. Within a few months of starting the program, I transitioned into a new communications role at my company and I moved into another higher role before I finished the program.

I had been working toward a career change for a couple years before starting the program and was not getting the traction I needed. The immediate skills I gained in class that I could implement at work the next day—on top of showing I was dedicated to advancing my education—were the spark I needed to make these big moves. And I went on to make two more big moves since graduating in 2018.

Last year I became senior manager of inclusion, diversity, and equity communications at Medtronic. It combines my communications and leadership skills with a subject matter I care about deeply. I use what I learned about integrated marketing communications every single day, and I am an effective collaborator with my partners because I connect the dots between big-picture business strategy and our collective actions and impact.

Holly Jenson MBA'21

I returned to school for my MBA, because I wanted new knowledge and perspectives, and career and salary advancement. I knew returning to school for my MBA would allow me to learn new concepts and points of view from professors and peers with diverse educational backgrounds, and professional experiences that would aid in my career advancement.

I picked St. Kate’s because I liked that we were able to go to the campus for classes, prior to the pandemic of course. I personally find it easier to learn and connect with others in-person vs virtually. St. Kate’s also offered students the opportunity to specialize in a particular area, which was something I was looking for when deciding where to go back to school.

Furthering my education has always been one of my personal and professional goals. St. Kate’s allowed me to achieve both my personal and professional goals by having an advanced degree program that matched my field of study and pushed me to keep going. I am the only one in my immediate family and one of the few people on my team at work to obtain a master’s degree.

After completing my MBA, I have been able to stand out amongst my colleagues by utilizing my new knowledge and skills from the program at work. Which has landed me more complex projects to lead and manage.

My long-term career aspirations are to become a leader in my chosen field, the healthcare industry. While also being exposed to new parts of the company, being more hands-on with operations, and obtaining a stronger track record of result making.

Vishakha Mathur MBA'22

Most of my colleagues have an MBA, so I think having this business background opens up career options for me down the road. It's a good base. I work for a big corporation, Boston Scientific. My social media role is part of the marketing communications function and I work very closely with the marketing team. I wanted to do this program while continuing my job.

I've learned so many things I’ve already been able to apply my job. I didn't have to wait and get my degree to actually use the learnings.

I'm an Indian woman focused on women's social equity. Being a proud person of color, I appreciate the social justice piece at St. Kate’s and it being such a woman-centric campus. These things are important to me.

People in my program are phenomenal. Group work is a big part of our classes and it’s very real-world. You work with people with different skill sets and different backgrounds and styles. Finance is not my forte, but if I have someone from, say, Wells Fargo in my group, that person can teach me a lot of things.

The sheer amount of social support surprised me. There are a lot of resources available to help young women, from financial assistance to food scarcity. I don't think I was fully aware of how invested St. Kate’s is in the community. I value an institution that's giving back. I could see my tuition is not only helping my career, but where funds are going. That's been something to be proud of. It doesn't feel like it's just a corporate program when everyone's invested.

The leadership skills I learned were super helpful. We focus a lot on diversity, because that’s such an important topic in our community. As a hiring manager, it’s important to ask, ‘Am I finding talent representative of our patients or customers?’

Alina Vargas MBA'21

I actually studied literature for my undergrad because I’m interested in words and storytelling. My dad said, ‘Do your undergrad in whatever you’re interested in. Even if it’s basket weaving.’ Then he heard my choice and said, ‘What are you going to do with a degree in literature?!’ The idea of getting an MBA came much later for me. But an MBA dedicated to that sphere—storytelling—is what got me interested in Integrated Marketing Communications.

It was a combination of personal experience and recommendations from those around me that made me choose St. Kate’s. I liked the idea of an all-women’s program focusing on empowering women to have strong voices and to stand in that female power. Its focus on women, social justice and creating a dynamic learning environment was exactly what I needed. St. Kate’s was a treasure of an experience.

The admissions team was very good about sending ideas for grants and scholarships and I took advantage of those. I applied for a women’s leadership scholarship and got it. I received a leadership scholarship for women of color as well.

A lot of the students around me were strong women—very intelligent and always wanting to do better. The quality of work was super high. They are ladies who want to make a difference in the world.