Lalena Magnetta ’16

U of R School of Business helps Navy veteran thrive as a civilian

After serving 11 years in the United States Navy as a petty officer, first class, Lalena Magnetta ’16 realized she needed a more comprehensive understanding of business than her undergraduate studies allowed if she wanted to move forward in her career. Taking advantage of her remaining G.I. Bill® benefits, Magnetta looked to the University of Redlands School of Business.

Magnetta chose the University of Redlands in part because it mirrored the tradition she experienced in the military. “Being in the military is like working for a well-oiled machine,” she says. “Everything is already in place and the traditions and customs have been there for over 200 years. There’s a similar tradition at Redlands, and students can form an unbreakable bond with the institution and its personnel.” 

Still, the transition from military life to academia wasn’t easy. Leaving a familiar daily routine made Magnetta feel uneasy about her future. She says the faculty at the University of Redlands San Diego campus had a hand in her ability to maintain her balance. 

“The faculty and staff at the U of R were so accommodating and appreciative of my service, making my transition much easier,” she says. “They also used real-world experiences in their lectures, knowing that the majority of their students were working professionals.”  

In addition to getting to know her professors, Magnetta formed a tight bond with the members of her cohort. She notes that one of the best parts of being a University of Redlands student is the community, which was something she spoke about during the commencement speech she gave.   

“When I was growing up, I never thought I would go to college,” she says. “I just planned on joining the military. Speaking at my graduation was such an empowering experience—seeing the president and my professors in the audience was overwhelming.”

Magnetta, currently based in Chicago, is now a building technologies training specialist for Siemens, a global company. She credits her career success to her time at the University of Redlands: “Getting my MBA from Redlands prepared me to go from a military professional to a corporate executive. The knowledge I attained during my graduate studies is priceless and will help me succeed immensely in the civilian workforce. I can’t wait to see what my future holds for me.”