The power of networking
July 12, 2011
Brittany Jones, ELMBA `11, is interviewed upon turning a networking contact into her ideal job.
Working full-time as a project coordinator in the office of ACT-SO, an NAACP program designed to promote academic and cultural achievement among African-American youth, Brittany Jones noticed that most of the senior managers at the organization had master’s degrees. The Baltimore native and 2007 Temple University graduate realized her own opportunities for professional success would be limited without an advanced degree.
“I could have stayed at my job and taken classes at night, and my employer would have paid, but that way would have taken me more than five years,” says Jones, who majored in African-American studies and English. “I learned about Loyola’s Emerging Leaders MBA program, where I could get it done in a year. It was the perfect time for me. I don’t have kids, I’m not tied down, I don’t really have many financial responsibilities.”
Jones’s investment in her future is already paying off. With just two months left to go before completing her MBA, she’s lined up a full-time job as chief of staff at DiversityInc., a Newark, N.J.-based consulting and publishing organization that serves as the leading source of information on diversity management. The opportunity stemmed from a key element of the ELMBA experience—networking.
“Loyola paid for me to attend a DiversityInc conference in D.C.,” says Jones, whose ELMBA experiences included field studies in Silicon Valley and Barcelona, Spain, as well as an internship with international spice giant McCormick & Co. “There, I introduced myself to the DiversityInc CEO, who said he would share my resume with a contact at Sodexo, a company DiversityInc considers to be one of the best in the country in its diversity programs. Instead—he asked if I’d be interested in interviewing for a position at his own organization. I’m going to be overseeing all their logistics, managing their administrative staff, improving processes, and strengthening their customer service.”
While DiversityInc is a for-profit enterprise, its philanthropic philosophy and justice-oriented mission align perfectly with Jones’ values and professional ambitions. In addition to her time at ACT-SO, Jones previously worked for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation Inc., which operates educational, economic development, and cultural programs, including the city’s famed spring JazzFest.
“I’ve worked with a lot of people who have really had a passion for non-profit management, but people who love non-profits don’t necessarily love the paperwork, the due diligence, that’s involved with running one effectively,” Jones says. “I feel like the management and leadership skills I’ve developed through the ELMBA will let me take something I love and bring new credibility to it.”
And of course, she says, the contacts she’s made and the reputation of the Loyola and Sellinger names will continue to open doors for her no matter where her career takes her. “Loyola is a really good school, and that’s a great advantage from a networking point of view. I’ve really been surprised by the amount of weight these connections carry.”
For more information on the Emerging Leaders MBA program, visit www.loyola.edu/elmba.