Chicago native Elizabeth Stigler (MBA ’13) originally aspired to a career in publishing when she graduated with an English degree from a small liberal arts college in 2005. For five years, Stigler held internships at the University of Chicago Press and Poetry magazine and later worked for the Poetry Foundation managing public events.
After moving to a small town in Colorado for a few years, she realized she missed Chicago. “I decided that I really wanted to go to business school and be more marketable,” Stigler says. “I thought that given where I want to take my career and what I want to do, I really needed an MBA.”
Currently Stigler serves as managing director of external relations at The Chicago Network, a nonprofit organization that unites leading professional women from a range of industries throughout the Chicago area. The role, she says, allows her to combine her English background and the business acumen she gained from her MBA coursework at DePaul.
A huge draw for Stigler in choosing to attend DePaul was the college’s Coleman Entrepreneurship Center, which launched in 2003. She also liked the college’s central location in the Chicago Loop.
“Another aspect that I really liked was the cohort structure, which offered an effective networking mix to me as a fulltime student,” she says. “I had the benefit of a close cohort during the first year, and from that solid foundation, my network grew as we took classes alongside part-time students who were new to us and who were already active in the workforce.”
Stigler pursued an MBA concentration in entrepreneurship. “We can all be entrepreneurs in some way, even if you’re not an ‘entrepreneur’ launching your own business,” she says. “Part of my role (at The Chicago Network) is thinking creatively and strategically about what partnerships we should be seeking in the community and making those connections. Just being innovative and thinking on my feet as far as what we could be doing differently is how DePaul informed how I think now in my role.”
In addition to meeting lifelong friends through her cohort, Stigler credits DePaul with giving her the confidence to speak knowledgeably with CEOs. She also recalls an operations class she took with Nezih Altay, a professor who specializes in supply chain management, for understanding how seemingly disparate elements, such as communications infrastructure and humanitarian relief logistics, are intertwined.
Stigler says, “There are all these surprising connections that my MBA background allows me to make on a daily basis as a result of the classes and exposure to all of the great professors I had at DePaul.”
By Jaclyn Lansbery
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