From present job to perfect job in just one year

When Patrick Costa ’13, ’19 MBA chose the Lehigh 1-MBA program, he knew the quality of education would be outstanding. After all, he had received his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Lehigh Business in 2013.  But even he was surprised by the transformational, real-world learning he experienced – and how quickly he landed his next career opportunity.

After graduating in 2013, Costa had spent five years gaining experience in sales and marketing at Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi.  He was ready to advance. He knew that an MBA was essential to accelerating his career in pharmaceutical brand marketing, and that Lehigh’s one-year, full-time program was the perfect choice for him. 

“I didn’t want to lose two years in the workforce,” he explained. “But to be able to take one year and gain tremendous business experience and training at Lehigh Business, and position myself for the job I really wanted,” that, he decided, was a winning proposition. 

Applying academics to real business challenges

The program’s rigorous curriculum provides professionals a solid framework for navigating the business landscape. Courses focus on core business fundamentals, perspectives from stakeholders and the impact of macro-level issues on businesses globally. Applying classroom theory to real-world business challenges is an organic feature of the program and one that Costa found truly transformative.

Through the program’s Consulting Practice, Costa was able to interact with professionals from major consulting firms, such as McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company. He leveraged his classroom learning to help a financially distressed manufacturing company streamline their production methods and achieve greater profitability. In his capstone course he partnered with a hospital, assessing how demographic changes and insurance trends would impact their strategic planning in the coming decades.

“That’s where Lehigh Business really excels,” says Costa, “showing the connection points between what you’re learning in the classroom and how you’re going to use it in the workforce. The gap between the academic and the applied, the theoretical and the workplace. That’s the boundary that Lehigh Business breaks down.”

Gaining unexpected insights, making connections

While Costa anticipated gaining a stronger foundational understanding of business, he wasn’t expecting the insights into his own potential. “The 1-MBA has made me more self-aware, shown me what I’m great at and where I need to focus, and really improved my communication and presentation skills. I learned a lot about myself – my working style, habits and personality – and it’s made me a more well-rounded professional.”

The program has also connected him with an exceptional network of people – from the real-world professionals he had the opportunity to meet, to the global classmates with whom he shared a diversity of experiences, to the graduate school professors and staff so committed to his success. 

“I just have to say the 1-MBA Program Director, Kevin Ezzell, has been phenomenal,” says Costa. “He’s been an unbelievable resource throughout the entire program.” And Costa considers the Career Coach assigned to him “one of the best parts of the MBA” because of the continual motivation and assistance he received. 

“You’re not going to get lost here,” he says. “They provide a strong support system to help you transition from the workforce back into graduate school, and to keep pushing you to explore different opportunities and eventually get a job.”

Costa graduated in May 2019, and as he reflects on his one-year MBA says, “I am thrilled with the experience I had. Before graduating, I received an offer for the exact type of position I went back to grad school for, and at a salary much increased over my previous position. I can think of no better endorsement for the Lehigh Business 1-MBA program than that.”