Higher rewards come from higher education

Guest post by Gina Harris, alumna of the Executive MBA program

Looking for an intellectual challenge? Feel like setting a goal and then working hard to achieve it? Consider going back to school to earn an MBA. With help from Univar, I did and it was unequivocally one of the best experiences of my life.

In 1989, I joined Information Systems at Univar with a BA in English and several years experience in banking and information technology. Throughout my nearly 20 year tenure with Univar, I’ve learned much about how we run our business and the technology we use to generate revenue, service our customers, enhance operating efficiency, and improve personal productivity. Still, I was missing a solid foundation of business knowledge.

So I put together a proposal for my manager asking for an endorsement and funding for my participation in the University of Washington Executive MBA Program. It took some lobbying, but I succeeded. I studied and sat for the GMAT, sought recommendations from a few key VPs in Bellevue and Redmond, and submitted my application. After several anxious months of waiting, I was thrilled to learn I was accepted into the program.

I spent two years attending all day classes on alternating Fridays and Saturdays, working for Univar all week, and studying each evening and all weekend. All told, I took 24 classes covering disciplines such as economics, statistics, operations management, finance, international management, law, marketing, ethics, general management, and more. It was fascinating, enlightening, and considerably different from undergraduate school. Classes were taught by the best professors at UW, who flock to the Executive MBA Program because the students’ work experience spawns discussions and lively exchanges of real life examples of theories in practice. I enjoyed sharing Univar’s experiences with supply chain management, inventory forecasting and replenishment, customer segmentation, activity-based costing, and more.

Since graduating in June 2007, I apply what I learned nearly every day. I am better able to contribute to initiatives to enhance profitability and improve operating efficiencies. I’ll never be one to finish a triathlon (I’m a weakling), but I finished a challenging mental marathon and enhanced my contribution to Univar as well.

Earning an MBA is a rewarding experience both for employees and for Univar – a gift that keeps on giving.