Allan is a district manager for The Timken Company. Allan started working for them after graduating from Lehigh with a degree in mechanical engineering. He spent the first several years moving with the company to locations around the United States. When he was in California, he started pursuing some additional studies in business. “I thought about getting an MBA several times over my 15-year career. Ultimately, I was unable to make the time commitment due to my work travel, relocations, and time away from my family. Mentors also told me that that the amount of experience I had accrued from the varied positions and relocations earlier in my career equaled an ‘on-the-job MBA.’”
“I started focusing on continuing my education in another way, which is when I found out about the Lehigh Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership. I completed four programs over two years to earn the certificate. The Essentials of Finance: A Manager’s Guide was the most valuable from a day-to-day perspective. Understanding finance is very important as I rise into more senior management levels, especially because I work for a publically-traded company and have to look at both internal and external financials for my sales role. I left the program with a better understanding of corporate finances.”
“I have been managing people for about a decade but have never had formal management training. The managers I had earlier in my career at our 100-plus year-old manufacturing company tended to have a less accommodating style than we would use today. Without formal training it, can be easy to find yourself developing poor managing habits. I enrolled in Connected Leadership: Creating and Retaining an Engaged Team, thinking that it would be good to see a different perspective and to identify where there might be gaps in my capabilities. The instructor taught us about four unique personality styles, and how we can work better with each of them. It has definitely helped me to think about how to better accommodate my direct reports, peers, and managers, whose styles are different from mine.
“Although in my sales manager role I do negotiations regularly, Advanced Negotiation Techniques was a great opportunity to get new perspective on the whole process. It’s easy to get lazy over time, so it was really helpful to be observed by a neutral third party who gave me feedback. The simulations made me think through my approach more carefully. It reminds me of some of the basics which should not be overlooked. Further, it helps to understand other’s perception of my negotiating techniques.
“The four programs I took for the Certificate balanced well. Connected Leadership focused on the people who work for me, while Advanced Negotiation Techniques was about improving my work with external customers. In Foundations of Project Management I learned a rigorous process for organization, and Essentials of Finance helps me with my day-to-day job performance and my career goals. Overall, earning the Certificate allowed me to be laser-focused, getting the best education that applies directly to my current and future roles in my company. Keeping your skills updated and continuing to learn is very beneficial. Even if you think you’re an expert at something, there is always room for improvement.”