Read stories from students, faculty, and alumni of EMU's Graduate Business and Leadership programs.
EMU felt like home when Tim Jones, a second year student in the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) program, visited campus as an incoming undergraduate student excited to play college basketball. After graduating with a degree in Business Administration, Tim stepped into the role of Residence Director and decided to take the next step in his education too.
As someone who enjoys working with people through strong team-building and collaboration, Tim described his appreciation for the diversity of the MAOL student community. Students are in different seasons of life with varied backgrounds, making class discussions interesting and insightful because each student relates the concepts to their jobs and unique experiences. In this environment, learning is not just about mastering the skills and concepts presented in course materials but also about engaging with a learning community where peers learn from each other.
For Tim, doing work that makes a meaningful difference is paramount. He explained how he’s preparing for that meaningful work now in his classes. He observed, “The small class sizes give you the opportunity to share and listen to others. The professor remembers you and your story so you can talk freely about what’s going on and how you can make a meaningful impact.” As he nears the finish line of the program, Tim reflected on how much he has learned about himself and how he wants to lead people. According to Tim, half of the coursework focuses on individual development by enhancing self-awareness and exploring leader stories while the other half of the coursework provides the foundation for developing skills and styles for leading others successfully. It’s the combination of these developmental paths that make the MAOL program unique and powerful.
Tim is making the most of his learning experiences by joining MAOL students, alumni, and faculty at the Leading Change Conference. He is looking forward to connecting in person to strengthen community, expand his network, and learn from the latest scholarship in organizational leadership. This conference and other opportunities continue to give him space to explore what’s next for him. He isn’t sure what his next career steps are – entrepreneurship and non-profit leadership are two areas that interest him. One thing is certain: “I know I want to lead, develop, and care for people. To support and build leaders and to empower people.” This is what meaningful work looks like for Tim.
Despite the challenges of balancing work and classes, Tim is confident that the MAOL program is an important investment in his future. He urged other students to put in the effort, saying, “Meet your professor. Take advantage of office hours, and keep them informed about your needs and challenges. The teachers are understanding and work with students to offer support.” Through this approach, Tim is not only expanding his knowledge and skills, but he’s building lasting and rewarding relationships with students and faculty alike. In short, he’s putting his vision for meaningful work into action now.