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Meet the students pursuing a Master of Science in Management

December 14, 2012
Here is a look at five of the MSMgt students. Their goals are as varied as the stories of all 40 students


            A fifth-year Girard student with concentrations in accounting and management. A biologist. A businesswoman from northwestern China. These are some of the 40 students enrolled in Girard School’s new Master of Science in Management program’s first semester.

            They came seeking more confidence and maturity, to learn about management and finance, or to expand their business decision-making skills.

            Their goals are as varied as the stories of all 40 students. Here is a look at five of the MSMgt students.


Matthew Raitt: “I wanted to further my career”

            Biologist Matthew Raitt said his science degree left him “unprepared for how companies truly work and how to interact with a variety of individuals on a daily basis.”    

            Raitt, of Wilmington and a 2010 graduate of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, works as a lab technician at Smith & Nephew medical technologists in Andover.  He assists doctors who are visiting the lab to see new products demonstrated. He also works with marketing and R&D to test products and evaluate equipment.

            To supplement the skills he gained with his biology degree, he enrolled in the MSMgt program, seeking to improve his communication and presentation skills.

            He found what he wanted in the Effective Management Communication class.

            “With this class alone I have noticed a remarkable improvement in the way I communicate with my peers and upper management as well as how I tailor my emails to answer problems and speak with other individuals,” Raitt said.

            An MSMgt degree is valuable to people like Raitt, who did not take any management or finance courses in college.

            “The MSMgt program has helped me take the initiative within my own job,” he said.

“It has given me the skills to further my career, taught me how important communication and finance skills are, and how to engage an audience in a presentation.”


Carla Grieco: “I’ve always had an interest in business”

            Even though she graduated with a degree in Italian studies and has worked in recreation for years, Carla Grieco ’12 wants to pursue a career in business. So she quickly applied to the MSMgt program.

            “This program gives you a peek into all the aspects of business, which has been a great help for me, as I have been applying to accounting/finance internships and would not have had a chance to otherwise,” Grieco said.

            She has two jobs, at the Revere Recreation Department, where she’s worked since she was 14; and as a Girard School graduate assistant. And in the first and last week of each semester, she works at the school bookstore.

            At the Recreation Department, she started by answering telephones and taking payments for summer camps and classes and worked her way up to instructing classes and bookkeeping. Last winter, she scheduled the events for summer 2012 and handled the graphic design work for the summer flier, staff T-shirts and banners posted around the city.

            With her bachelor’s degree in Italian studies (and minors in chemistry and mathematics), Grieco had to rework her resume to seek a business career. After the recent executive development (our professional development program designed specifically for our graduate students) workshop this fall, she said, “I believe that my resume now highlights my core competencies related to business.”

            She also praised the workshop on elevator speeches “because at the time that is what we were working on in class. It helped to get another person’s views on how to make an elevator pitch.”


Sarah Holcomb: “I always loved the school”

            A 2008 graduate of the Girard School, Sarah Holcomb is thrilled to return for a master’s degree.

            “Being able to come back four years later and see all the improvements and the students makes me proud to be an alumna as well as a member of the first MSMgt class,” said Holcomb, a financial reporting accountant.

            She thrives on the pressure of both working full time and attending graduate school.

            “The most challenging aspect of this program is learning how to juggle my career, family, friends and school. The benefit of this is I am much more productive when I have more to do,” said Holcomb, who lives in Boston. She sees two goals of this coursework: improving her performance at her current job and preparing for a next job search.

            Holcomb is enrolled in two courses, Financial Management and Marketing Analysis. The former helps her at work: “On a day-to-day basis I am very involved in the details, and understanding how my work impacts the company has helped me to realize the importance of what I’m doing.”

            The benefits of Marketing Analysis go beyond understanding marketing principles: “This class has really taught me important skills including teamwork, cooperative decision making and to be able to think beyond the information given by in-depth analysis.”

            She recommends the MSMgt program to anyone considering an MBA, preparing for the CPA exam, or seeking a fifth-year master’s after undergraduate work.

            On a daily basis, she says, “I can see my education being put to good use,” whether it’s understanding how a company is valued or analyzing radio commercials and billboard advertisements. She says she’s becoming a smarter consumer.


Yi Liu: “Be prepared for opportunities”

            The owner of a Maltese restaurant in Urumqi, China, is pursuing an opportunity to invest in real estate. She’s strengthening her knowledge of finances through the MSMgt program, which she located through Kaplan Inc.’s branch in China.
            Yi Liu’s trip to North Andover is her first visit to the United States. Her goal is to lead a company that’s listed on a Chinese stock market.

            “People who are working or willing to find a job in marketing, financing or market research would definitely find this program useful,” Yi said. “Even to the people who want to start their own business, this program will give them ideas on what tools they can use to measure how the business runs and how to make better decisions.”

            She received a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Malta in 2008. While studying there, she met Carmelo Vassallo, an entrepreneur who travelled to China so much that he missed Maltese cuisine and wanted to open a Maltese restaurant there. He picked Urumqi, the world’s most landlocked city, more than 1,300 miles northwest of Beijing. Aroma Mediterania opened in November 2009.

            Courses in financial management and professional skills have been most useful to her.
            “The useful tools are the financial forecasting and firm valuation,” Yi said “These particular tools would help me to make the right decision” on whether to pursue various real estate investments.

            She also appreciates how all the classes emphasize a new way of thinking and making decisions: “It’s real-life training on how to manage your life in an efficient way.”

            Working on her resume through Executive Development (our professional development program designed specifically for our graduate students) “helped me analyze myself in order to know myself better. And I think it is necessary to analyze what are the strengths and weaknesses about yourself, so you will always be prepared for opportunities.”


John Massey: “The MSMgt program has given me confidence”

            John Massey ’12 finished his undergraduate career at the Girard School as a Presidential Scholar. As a fifth-year student in the MSMgt program, he finds graduate school “more engaging than undergraduate work.”

            Graduate school involves fewer exams and far more case studies, he explains. “I like the way the work in most of the courses gets me to think.”

            Massey, from Waterville, Maine, majored in business administration with concentrations in accounting and business management. In January he starts his career as a CPA with Sullivan and Bille PC in Newburyport. As a Presidential Scholar, he had to achieve at least a cumulative 3.5 grade-point average, based on the 4.0 grading system.

            “Almost all of our grades are an evaluation of how well we analyze and present our recommended solutions to a real-world business issue,” he said of his MSMgt studies.

            “While undergraduate work tended to emphasize learning facts and material, the MSMgt program incorporates more practical application of the material. It’s a lot more engaging, which tends to be a more fun, and I would argue an effective way to learn.”

            He enjoys a fifth consecutive year in the classroom, saying it has added to his maturity.

            “Just the level of thinking I’m constantly asked to do has helped me develop as a person. We’re treated as professionals and I have begun to feel like one,” Massey said. “I don’t know if there is a specific attribute I can point out but I am definitely a better student and professional than I was when I began the program.”

            Management and leadership skills being vital in any organization, he says an MSMgt degree would benefit almost anyone: “Being educated with a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively manage people and the business you are in will provide you with opportunities.”


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  • Student Sarah Holcomb works with classmate Ashley Varano
    Student Sarah Holcomb works with classmate Ashley Varano

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