Becoming a Double Hokie: Q&A with Alexis Monahan '06
Virginia Tech’s Evening MBA program often attracts many professionals with Virginia Tech undergraduate degrees, for various reasons like the expanded alumni network, great value, and stellar reputation. Current student Alexis Monahan, a 2006 graduate in communications and psychology, shares her thoughts on why she picked Tech, the skills she's gained, her classmates’ learning contributions — and more.
Why a Virginia Tech MBA?
My dream was to work on Hollywood film sets, and, after graduation, I set off to do just that, landing jobs at NBC/Universal and Disney. In 2011, I decided to try a new adventure and began working for a start-up publishing company. I ran its operations for over six years and was bitten hard by the business bug. I learned a lot from my experience as an entrepreneur but knew that my formal education was lacking.
As a Hokie, I knew that Virginia Tech was where I wanted to get my MBA. The Pamplin College of Business has a stellar reputation as a top business school across the country, and it has already opened many networking doors for me.
How long have you been in the program?
I have just finished my second year. I am on the four-year plan, as I work full-time and attend school part-time.
What skills and knowledge have you gained so far?
I have gained a great deal of knowledge, especially in accounting, finance, and economics. My prior experience was very operations and marketing heavy. The Virginia Tech program covers the quantitative (accounting, finance) and the qualitative (leadership, PR, and reputation management). My studies have given me a more well-rounded view of what business is, and all the skills and knowledge that go into it.
The program also opened up an amazing opportunity for me to participate in a Venture Capital Bootcamp in January 2020. This four-day crash course in partnership with other colleges like UVa, Notre Dame, and more was an insider’s look at how venture capital funds start-up businesses. This was especially enlightening for me, as I worked for a start-up for so long.
How will the degree serve you in your career path?
My studies are already helping me. My company is very supportive — my supervisor asks me often what I am learning and allows me to take on new projects to practice and demonstrate my new skill sets. The program has also given me the confidence to pursue opportunities. In my “Leading People and Organizations” class, we do a lot of role-play assignments to help build this confidence and practice having crucial conversations like career advancements.
How is grad school in metro D.C. different from being an undergrad in Blacksburg
Being in metro D.C. brings a lot of opportunities. The most significant has been the access to a large, diverse, and international pool of local companies to collaborate with. Each one of my courses has had a project that analyzes different aspects of a company. I have been able to look at different companies through the lens of operations, accounting, marketing, or corporate communication. My studies have provided access to the leaders of these companies and to see the strategic inner workings of their businesses.
How are your MBA classmates contributing to your learning?
The diverse background and experiences of my professors and classmates. My professors include accountants, economists, communication consultants. They bring their real-world experience to the classroom and give more context to the subjects they teach. My classmates are similarly diverse — career military, engineers, accountants, managers, government contractors, and more. Virginia Tech students come from all over the United States and the world. I am learning so much from the diverse perspectives found in my classrooms.