Susan Norton knows a lot about one part of the massive business structure that is Hagerty insurance as senior manager of its mail processing department.
But she didn’t know a lot about the rest of the world-wide agency – at least until now. Norton is among 16 graduates of the Chamber’s inaugural Mini MBA program which completed its 9-month hands-on learning course with its final class and “commencement” ceremony Tuesday night at the Chamber.
“I learned a great deal about how a business actually runs,” Norton said. “In my job, a see one little piece…now I got to see all these other pieces that it takes to actually run a business.”
The Chamber launched this first-of-its-kind business education program last fall in conjunction with Ferris State University. It was taught by six different FSU instructors led by Dr. David Steenstra. The students ran a hands-on business simulation exercise that involved all levels of decision-making include product development, financial literacy, marketing and management and more.
“It was just an amazing amount of information, from all areas of business,” said Brooke Anderson, a kitchen designer for Preston Feather Building Centers.
Anderson said the program is helping her specifically in the area of customer service and working better with her company’s clients. She was also impressed with the breadth of the FSU instructors.
“The great thing was that every single one of them had real-world experience…it wasn’t just everything in theory.”
Tamara DePonio, a branch manager for Credit Union ONE in Traverse City, said the Mini MBA helped develop strategic thinking skills that will help her as a manager going forward. She also learned about LEAN business practices that will help her office run more efficiently.
“They did such a great job to condense so much information into just nine months,” DePonio said. “We covered an incredible amount of material.”
Chamber Chief Operating Office Laura Oblinger said she’s very pleased with the results of the Mini MBA program. Chamber and FSU representatives will evaluate the product and consider any needed changes, but Oblinger said she’s thrilled with its initial results.
“It’s a unique program that’s really filled a niche in our educational offerings here at the Chamber,” Oblinger said. “We’re looking forward to making it even better and more relevant for our members.”
Norton said it’s a learning tool she would recommend to anyone.
“I’ve enjoyed this,” Norton said. “I would advocate doing it again and again and again.”
You can learning more about this and other Chamber leadership development programs by clicking here