Alumni Profile: Patty Erickson
Patty Erickson had worked in various capacities for Newark element14, a company that distributes electronic components worldwide, for 15 years when she felt like she hit a wall in her job. Wanting to learn more about the business, Patty decided to go back to school for a master of business administration (MBA) degree. “I was thinking, ‘I’ve learned everything I can by doing my job. I need an education,’” she says.
Patty chose North Park’s MBA program for its affordability and convenience. Thanks to the program’s flexibility, she never missed a single class despite working full time and caring for her two kids.
Courses in economics, organizational leadership, and change management gave Patty—who had majored in sociology in college and never taken a business class—an immediate boost on the job. Notably, her ability to communicate improved significantly because she learned the language that others used in her business. “The program helped me become more strategic at a higher level so I could contribute in a more relevant way,” she says.
This enhanced knowledge led to a promotion to senior product operations manager, where she now executes the business strategy to bring her company’s 2.1 million products to the market. An expert in business operations and how all of her company’s business systems work together, Patty also manages a team of four that recently won a service award—a nod to the leadership skills that the MBA program instilled in her.
“We were always told that you have the capacity for great things,” she says. “I heard it over and over and over again, and it became part of the way that I work. Now I tell my team, ‘You have the capacity to be great.’ That was fostered through this MBA program.”
Faculty helped her in other ways, and even after graduating in 2010, she knows that she can still go to them with questions. “The professors are very respectful of the students and they encouraged us to participate, provide input, and challenge ourselves,” she says. “Everyone was dedicated to helping us learn and teach ourselves. It was a collaborative experience.”