A full-time job in the construction industry and a sometimes-chaotic household with four young boys didn’t deter self-described “creative pragmatist” Jenni Cragun from achieving a professional goal of obtaining her online MBA.
In fact, the Rocklin, California, resident was so adept at balancing school, work and family life that she was named the University of Wisconsin MBA Consortium’s 2022 Outstanding Graduate.
“I decided to pursue an MBA to enhance my knowledge, skills and confidence in the business environment,” Cragun says. “With a prior career in academia, I felt my business and management skills were underdeveloped, and I knew an MBA program would help me overcome this gap in knowledge.”
Cragun discovered that her UW MBA Consortium experience exceeded expectations, with a flexible graduate school program that allowed her to complete her education during nontraditional hours. She found the Consortium’s highly ranked program has a rigorous curriculum that challenged her nonbusiness background as she gained a comprehensive education in business and management.
“I have not only built a strong foundation of knowledge about all aspects of business, but I have also developed communication and management skills that can be applied to a broad range of positions and industries,” Cragun says.
The program’s intentional application of lessons to students’ real-life work experience enhanced the program’s impact for Cragun.
“I have gained a depth and breadth of knowledge within my current industry, while also learning a tremendous amount about the broader business environment through the lens and perspectives of fellow students,” Cragun says.
Dr. Brent Opall, a UW-Eau Claire assistant professor of management and marketing, says Cragun excelled at connecting course material to assignments, her professional work and personal insight.
“She demonstrated a mastery understanding of the material and was able to seamlessly weave her professional experience with material in ways that (consistently) exceeded expectations,” Opall says.
The knowledge Cragun gained from the UW MBA Consortium program will allow her to take a more analytical approach to issues in her job as accounting and payroll manager at a northern California commercial construction company.
“I now feel confident in my understanding of the internal and external factors affecting our company, allowing me to make informed contributions to important business decisions,” Cragun says.
Cragun would “absolutely recommend” the UW Consortium MBA program to anyone looking for a flexible program with a comprehensive curriculum. She already has recommended the program to several family members and friends seeking to advance their own business careers.
Cragun is the 14th individual to be named the UW MBA Consortium Outstanding Graduate. View past award winners.