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Master of Science in Management’s Applied Learning Approach Works

June 23, 2014
Merrimack Alumna and current graduate student Sarah Bourouphael works full-time and takes classes part-time, putting her new skills and knowledge to use immediately in the workplace.

It’s not unusual, says Sarah Bourouphael ’08, for her to apply a lesson from a Master of Science in Management class the next day in her work at Nike subsidiary Converse.

“I’m not sure if it gets better than that when it comes to seeing a return on your educational investment,” says Bourouphael. She works full time at Converse headquarters in North Andover and is a part-time student planning on receiving her MSM in 2015.

In March, she was promoted from an Assistant Buyer to Strategic Capabilities Analyst for Converse Global Procurement. After nearly two years at Apple, she joined Converse in 2011.

“I’ve found extreme relevance in almost every course I’ve taken so far,” Bourouphael says. “I’ve really been able to develop my business acumen and vocabulary, enabling me to speak to more subjects and key business partners.” 

Most helpful have been courses directly related to her job: Supply Chain and Operations, Managerial Communication, and Statistics.

Girard’s MSM program has helped her defeat an old academic foe and develop her sense of self-confidence and collaboration.

In Professor Bruce Han’s statistics class, she says she discovered how to master mathematics.

“Professor Han’s teaching style links algebra and calculus to the world around you in such a way that you cannot help but comprehend and connect to the material,” Bourouphael says. “Mastering statistics has been nothing short of a surprise and delight for me, giving me the knowhow to be successful in my newest role at my company.”

She also appreciates the tenor of her classes, which she describes as “an open forum for debate and creative confrontation.”

A dual major in political science and economics at Merrimack College, Bourouphael says she understands a business degree will enhance her career opportunities. She weighed an MBA vs. a Master of Science in Management at the Girard School and chose Girard’s MSM program.

“I wanted something business-oriented, but more comprehensive, flexible, and global,” says Bourouphael, who lived and studied in Saudi Arabia for six years while her father worked there. She has a diploma from the British International School of Jeddah and graduated from Salem (N.H.) High School.

Her first job after graduation, at a bank, didn’t last long. As a technician at Apple, she said she learned how technology applies to every part of our lives.

“I’m constantly seeking out new technology, trying to find ways to innovate my own work and personal life. I’m the go-to person for many people across different functions when they have questions, troubleshooting issues, or want to learn about new technology,” says Bourouphael.

But as tech-savvy as she is, she admits she had a weak business background.

“Working for my current employer, I’ve been exposed to many concepts and business functions that never entered my vocabulary before entering the workforce full time,” she says. And she realized she should seek a graduate degree.

What she’s learning in the MSM program applies directly to her work.

“My role ties statistical analysis and storytelling together to identify opportunities for growth, savings, and value delivery for the business,” she says.

“The program’s applied learning approach using real-world examples has boosted my confidence in delivering meaningful contributions at work. This is especially true of the areas that impact my role the most: statistics and communication.” 

What happens in the classroom is paying off:

“These experiences drive me toward becoming more confident and collaborative and encourage me to contribute valuable feedback at work and become a bigger part of the growth and evolution of my workplace.”

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