Bulldog Bites

News and Views from the University of Redlands

‘Quenching my thirst for knowledge’

Carissa Gerry ’20 (MBA) describes her induction into the Whitehead Leadership Society as “definitely a proud moment.” (Photo by Coco McKown '04, '10)

When Carissa Gerry ’20 was promoted from a paralegal position to a job in business development at national law firm Saxe Doernberger & Vita, she knew she would need marketing knowledge in order to do her job—so she turned to the University of Redlands School of Business.

Gerry’s decision to pursue an MBA at the Temecula campus was the result of extensive research on graduate schools and programs. “I wanted a degree with a marketing emphasis because it would go hand in hand with my job,” she says. “The School of Business curriculum seemed more general than other schools but no less rigorous.”

After two years of study, Gerry prepared to complete her degree and have the honor of being inducted into the Whitehead Leadership Society, along with 29 other graduating School of Business students. Now with over 1,700 members, the Whitehead Leadership Society was established to encourage leadership and academic excellence within the School of Business. Members are tasked with supporting the University community, fostering a climate for student achievement, engaging with students and faculty, and celebrating the liberal arts tradition.

“It was definitely a proud moment,” says Gerry, recalling the ceremony. “My leadership style isn’t one that’s loud or seeks the spotlight, so it felt great to be recognized and stand on the stage alongside fellow School of Business students.”

During the ceremony, Gerry spent time with professors and administrators who she met throughout her program, leading to a moment of reflection. She says that Professor Neena Gopalan, who taught Management and Organizational Behavior, provided knowledge Gerry could directly apply to her professional life.

In addition to fortifying her career, the program allowed Gerry’s personal strengths to flourish. “In quenching my thirst for knowledge, my confidence really grew with each course I took,” she says. “I didn’t think going back to school would be easy, but I didn’t expect to be so constructively challenged personally, professionally, and mentally.”

In the future, Gerry looks forward to applying knowledge and her newfound confidence to her work in office management and business development. As one of the three support staff members in her office, Gerry is responsible for introducing executives to innovative marketing opportunities—something she now knows she’s capable of.

She is also eager to join the growing community of School of Business alumni she can rely on for support and networking opportunities. “I love that the Redlands community is so close-knit,” she says. “It was incredible to be a part of my cohort—we saw each other through difficult classes and big life changes. Having the chance to expand my network personally and professionally has been completely rewarding.”

Learn more about the School of Business, which offers on-ground and online programs.