Sheila Jichi '10 - MBA


"When I started the Curry MBA program, I knew I would get a degree," says Sheila Jichi of Foxboro, Mass. "What I didn't expect was to gain enough confidence to feel I can take on almost anything, personally and professionally. I didn't know I would make a lifelong connection to the program and the people in it. What I gained is hard to quantify in words."

After completing her bachelor's degree in business administration at Berea College, Sheila enrolled in The Curry College MBA program. "I wanted to be a better communicator and develop the professional skills to help me advance in my career. I was impressed with the Curry MBA because the flexible schedule meant I could work full-time, attend class part-time and still have the challenge of a quality program. I also appreciate that Curry encourages students to get involved and share feedback. They treat you as a professional and respect your opinions."

Sheila appreciated the variety of Curry MBA courses and the ability to remain with her cohort group. "I really wanted to explore the range of topics related to business - ethics, information technology management, finance - to get an idea of where I might want to move next in my career." The entrepreneurship aspect of the program excited Sheila so much that she launched her own Internet franchise showing people how to shop and save online, and she creates websites for small businesses, all while continuing to work full-time as a Senior Inventory and Cost Accountant at the Adidas Group division of Reebok in Canton, Mass.

The business ethics course encouraged Sheila to consider new perspectives, especially for creating businesses in emerging markets. As a person who's lived in a developing country - she grew up in Nigeria, West Africa, and her family is from Lebanon - Sheila valued the case studies, such as Muhammad Yunus' microfinance program at Bangladesh's Grameen Bank, and the explanations of her professor, Dr. Gail Arch, about the international development process, education as a tool for social development and using business to improve the world.

A project for Professor Anthony Fabrizio's marketing course found Sheila and her team consulting with the Hyde Park (MA) Arts Association, creating publications to raise awareness and funds for the school's mission to offer affordable arts education to low-income area children and local artists.

One of Sheila's favorite professors, Dr. William Topper, is the Curry MBA program director. "His background in corporate America is immense, and he makes his experiences relevant to the class," says Sheila. "He's a very humble man who really cares about students and wants us to get the most out of the program."

Dr. Topper served as advisor for Sheila's Capstone project and presentation, where she led the distribution group assigned to consult with Mayflower, a craft beer microbrewery in Plymouth, Mass. "Being one of the team leaders was a fantastic experience," says Sheila. "Mayflower needed help with marketing, distribution and operations to increase their presence in New England. I learned to handle team dynamics and improve my time management skills. I discovered the concept of servant leadership and realized it fits my style. I feel so much more knowledgeable now. I'm more reflective and better able to assess a situation and to behave professionally in all types of interactions."

To help prepare for her Capstone presentation, Sheila took advantage of the Speaking Center at Curry. "Professor Vicki Nelson videotaped my presentation and offered great advice and coaching. It really helped improve my public speaking and communication skills. I recommend it to everyone."

Since graduating from the Curry MBA program in January of 2010, Sheila is back on campus as a teaching assistant. While conducting workshops and mentoring information technology (IT) management classes, Sheila gains experience in teaching and technology while also helping students create and design their own database. "Everything I learned at Curry helps me on my job. My listening skills improved, and I feel more confident when interacting with upper management at Reebok. I'm better able to summarize clearly and concisely and give them exactly the information they need. My experience at Curry has helped me put my career path in a professional perspective."


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