Hybrid MBA Social Impact Scholarship recipient
The Hybrid MBA program is thrilled to announce our second recipient of the Social Impact Scholarship, Lauren Woodside Alegre. Lauren is a member of the Hybrid MBA Class of 2023, and shares with us her commitment to service, and how she finds balance of study and family while living in Peru.
Residing in beautiful Lima, Peru, just shy of 5,000 miles from Seattle, why did you choose the Hybrid MBA program at the UW Foster School of Business?
When I started looking at the possibility of an MBA, I wanted to find a flexible, online option, but I also wanted to find a quality program backed by a reputable business school. When I saw that Foster had a hybrid program that also included in-person immersion each quarter, I knew that would be a great fit for what I was looking for. While I live in Lima, Peru; I’m from the greater Seattle area, so the opportunity to travel home a few times a year is a plus too.”
When you joined the Hybrid MBA program, you were the Acting Director of Risk and Resilience for Food for the Hungry. What drew you to the nonprofit sector, and how does Hybrid MBA fit into this work?
“I’ve always been interested in helping others and creating opportunities for people to develop their full potential. For the last 16 years, I’ve been able to do that in my work with an organization that focuses on development and emergency response, and before that I was an educator. I’ve had the opportunity to work in many different contexts and roles from implementing emergency response projects in communities destroyed by earthquakes to writing proposals and designing programs that enable the poor and marginalized to reduce disaster risk and strengthen their resilience. In the last few years, I’ve become more interested in taking on broader leadership roles, and I’m also interested in how the private business sector can contribute to sustainable development for the world’s poor. Pursuing an MBA seemed to be the right next step professionally to grow and maybe even pivot to the private sector.”
What part of the Hybrid MBA experience do you enjoy most?
The course work and professors have been excellent, and the immersion experiences have also added significant value to learning. But, by far, the part I enjoy most is working with my Hybrid MBA team, team Singularity. My team members come from a broad range of professional backgrounds and life experiences, and I have learned so much from them.”
How have fellow students enhanced your HMBA experience?
“Beyond my Hybrid MBA team, the other students in the program have also made the learning experience richer. The caliber of my fellow students is amazing. Their contributions to class discussions are enriched by their diverse professional experiences. As I have been considering making a transition to the for-profit sector it has also been great to connect with fellow students during the immersions, to hear more about and learn from their own career paths and plans.”
What course content resonates with you?
“For someone coming from the non-profit, social impact sector, and not having had any business classes as an undergrad, I really didn’t know what to expect from the course work. I’ve really appreciated how courses each quarter are intertwined with similar themes and complementary topics, such as learning the connections between operations management decisions and corporate finance, while also learning to use practical decision modeling tools. Each course has deepened my understanding of key business skills and principles, and they have given me a new way to think about even my current work in the non-profit sector. ”
How has the Hybrid MBA supported you from a career perspective?
“The course work, and the career management support provided in the Hybrid MBA are giving me an amazing platform to be able to take the next steps in my career, whatever that might be. Whether it ends up being a general management role in a non-for profit or pivoting to a for-profit sector organization that cares about making a positive impact in the world, I know that I am gaining the hard and soft skills that will help me take those next steps.”
Balance – is it possible?
Organization, flexibility, grace, and lots of support have been key to balancing the work, family and study responsibilities in this chapter of life. Of course, organization is a must. I’ve had to figure out a new rhythm of work and study and setting aside exclusive time for my kids and husband too. Fortunately, the flexibility offered by both the Hybrid MBA and my work have made that possible. I also have had to realize my own limitations and give myself grace when I am not able to be everything to everyone. This is balanced by having amazing support from my family, HMBA team and my colleagues from work. My husband encouraged me to get my MBA, and he has been incredibly supportive picking up kids’ homework and nighttime routines, so I can have time to study. My HMBA team has been an amazing support as we work together to get coursework done, and make sure that everyone is learning too. This season has been a bit crazy of course, but it has been so rewarding.”
After receiving your MBA, where do you envision yourself professionally?
“I am not entirely sure yet where I will be in the next 2-3 years. I still want to be part of work that is making the world better and offering opportunities for all people to reach their full potential, but the HMBA program has helped confirm to me that there are ways I may be able to do that in the for-profit sector.
I am excited to see what opportunities will open-up once I have my MBA.”