While the uncertainty of COVID-19 has put life on hold for a number of us, many of us are still pushing forward towards new goals and reaching new heights. One WashU IT employee, Thomas Hildebrand, has done just that this spring by graduating with his MBA through Washington University! This is a tremendous achievement, and as such, we wanted to take a moment to highlight and celebrate Thomas’ accomplishments and the journey he has taken to get there.
Starting in December 2018, Thomas initially began working for WashU IT as a student worker, before transitioning into a full-time role as a Project Coordinator in Enterprise Applications in September 2019. He had been going for his MBA full-time continuously since fall of 2017 until deciding it wasn’t right for him, opting instead to have a job and get some work experience. He had initially explored other jobs before reaching his position at WashU IT, where he picked up his MBA again.
“WashU IT afforded me that work-life balance I had been looking for. I could attend classes in the evenings or on weekends and still keep up on my work schedule,” Thomas said. “It was much easier to find that proper balance with WashU IT than with other jobs.”
When asked what made him decide to pursue an MBA, Thomas cited his previous achievement of earning a Master’s degree in chemical engineering. His advisor had noted that while Thomas was well-versed in technical knowledge, to truly successful and become more well-rounded, he needed to understand the business side of things as well; thus the pursuit of an MBA began.
While earning his MBA was certainly an achievement that would open up incredible future opportunities for him, Thomas emphasized how helpful getting his degree was to his current position as well. “The best thing about working at WashU IT and going to school was I could take class knowledge I had just learned and immediately begin applying it to my job,” explained Thomas. “The program was excellent about providing practical lessons that I could immediately start using, rather than just discussions on theory. I could immediately take knowledge from lessons on Scrum or Agile and use them for stand-up meetings right after. The job and degree enforced each other.”
When asked for his final thoughts and feelings on the journey to obtain his MBA, Thomas reflected fondly on his position at WashU IT, the people he has been able to work with, and the kindness of management.
“I really enjoy my current role in Enterprise Applications. I’m working on Sharepoint migration, Windows server retirements, doing interesting projects with interesting people and getting to flex my project management muscles while exploring the technical side of things. There were also a few times I had to travel for my MBA Capstone, and had to talk it over with my boss and they were great about it. WashU IT was amazing in being able to be flexible when I needed it. They were accommodating and encouraging towards the fact I was pursuing my degree.”
All of us at WashU IT are incredibly excited for Thomas and amazed at the hard work he has put forth to accomplish his goals. Please remember to congratulate him