Innovation and Connection: An MBA Q&A with WPI Business School Students | Announcements | Messages – Natural Self Esteem

The MBA: A solid investment

WPI MBA students Justin Deveau and Heath Oikle

It’s easy to see why a Master of Business Administration (MBA) remains one of the most popular graduate-level degrees. The MBA degree equips graduates with many transferable skills that allow them to advance in their careers – and remains a sound investment. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal98 percent of universities offering MBA programs report that their graduates are earning more money two years after graduation than they borrowed for their degree.

At WPI, we offer an MBA program that builds on our legacy of innovation. The business school’s MBA program is STEM-focused, equipping students with technical and analytical expertise that is critical in today’s business environment. Uniquely, the STEM MBA program offers 20 specialization options ranging from Supply Chain Management to Entrepreneurship; This allows students to add value to their current organization or to explore a new area. WPI’s MBA program is also offered entirely online with an asynchronous schedule that makes it easier for students to balance school, work and family.


Of course, no one knows how to talk to the program better than real students. Recently, WPI sat down with two MBA students, Justin Deveau and Heath Oikle, for a Q&A to share their experiences with the program, the personal connections they’ve made, and how their degrees would help them in their respective careers discuss.

WPI: Justin and Heath, thank you for taking the time to chat with us. First of all, you both have a scientific background. What made you decide to do your MBA?

Justine: As my career progressed, I transitioned into a much more business-oriented role. I was at a point in my career where I was well placed with the science background, but from a business perspective I had some catching up to do; I needed to learn the slang and strategy to be competitive with my peers and add value to my business.

Pagan: I really wanted to better understand the people I worked with; I work in a fast-paced, high-tech field. So the technical bit was what attracted me [The Business School]. And the fact that it was a mixed program of in-person and online sessions was a really big part of that.

WPI: What other factors influenced your decision to choose WPI for your MBA? Justin, we know you have one too degree in biology by WPI.

Justine: I was drawn to WPI as an alumnus because I care deeply about it, but also because I was familiar with the school’s project-based values. You have a lot of freedom for your own innovative ideas. The blended approach was also an added value considering where my family lives.

WPI: Our school combines technology and business, and of course our MBA programs have a STEM focus. How has this approach impacted what you were able to learn in the program?

Justine: You can have the best idea, but if you’re not able to pull together a strategy and make some progress, you’re not going to get it anywhere. At WPI, a lot of that innovation starts with that, and having the experience there makes you feel a lot more comfortable for what might come later. Seeing business principles through a technological lens and vice versa has been very valuable to me.

Pagan: And to add to that, when I’m in sales, I won’t be sitting in R&D and seeing how a product works [is evaluated] or how it works. Looking outside, real-world perspectives and understanding the technical side of the business will give you a holistic view of the industry you work in.

WPI: Well that’s cool. For seven weeks of your program, your cohort personally worked on competitive business plans for your capstones. How was this experience?

Justine: The competitive, albeit friendly, nature of these projects has brought out the best in us all. We never wanted to stop. And that’s what you get in the real world of work. This has helped us to dig deep into these projects and get a lot more out of them. After participating in this capstone, I am confident that I can take something like what I just presented and bring it to market.

WPI: We are happy to hear that you got so much out of this project. Tell us about some of the connections you made in your group.

Justine: I have friends who are doing their MBAs, but most of them are in impersonal programs that have no connection to their school and community. Heath and I really became friends during this experience and we have a very strong connection within our cohort. And that is a network that you are constantly expanding.

Pagan: There is great value in building relationships inside and outside the company [MBA program]. It only helps later growth and development. [This program] reminded me to be open to other perspectives. I’ve worked with people in careers ranging from finance to rocket science to utilities. It’s really valuable to see how different people approach the same problem.

Justin, who works as a medical device manager for Genzyme, and Heath, who works as an executive territory manager for Biosense Webster, will complete their STEM MBA at WPI Business School in Spring 2022. And both agree that as valuable as the new skills they can immediately put to use in their careers are the personal connections they’ve made along the way.

To learn more about WPI’s MBA program and how you can start building your own skills and connections, visit our website.

Discover our other business programs

Are you interested in a career in supply chain where you can manage goods and meet demand for products and services? Explore our Masters in Operations Management and Supply Chain Analytics, a STEM degree that prepares students for the distribution and fulfillment of goods and services. Perhaps you are curious about a career in user experience? Our Master in User Experience provides students with world-class expertise and resources in UI UX to apply to technological environments. Are you driven by information technology, business analytics and management principles? Consider pursuing a Masters in Information Technology, where you will learn how to create business opportunities using information technology and analytical tools.

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