What Students and Alumni Say About the MAL Program

What factors steered you toward leadership?

“Perfect fit for what I wanted to accomplish next”

I am blessed to have been a broadcast journalist in the Twin Cities for many years. It’s a career that has taken me to different countries and allowed me to report on people from all walks of life.  I am also a lifelong learner and one of my dreams was to continue my learning on an authentic and deeper level. This happened when I enrolled in the Master of Arts in Leadership program at Augsburg College. After a search of the college’s offerings, I decided a MAL degree was a perfect fit for what I wanted to accomplish next.

I was also intrigued in the wide variety of course offerings and the flexibility in course components. This was important to me because I was a returning student who hadn’t been in a classroom setting for many years. These various options were critical to my comfort level and success.

Smart companies and employees know it’s critical to business survival to cultivate leadership skills no matter what position you hold. It was important to me to reexamine what I knew and to sharpen critical leadership skills that now include clarity in organization, strategy development, and communication. My final project allowed me to conduct a mini-leadership development program at my place of work. This wouldn’t have been possible without all the multiple disciplines taught in the MAL degree program.
– Diana Pierce

“managing the unmanageable”

“I have a current project that clearly demonstrates what I gained from my time at Augsburg.  As facilitator of this project I have people from backgrounds as varied as engineering, manufacturing, finance, and legal.  These people are scattered across the Midwest and East Coast of the US, the United Kingdom, Singapore and China.  I have the advantage of leading the project as opposed to trying to manage what some would find unmanageable.  Without my leadership experience at Augsburg it is unlikely this project would have moved past concept phase.”
– Randall Ross

“No carbon copy students here”

“I am applying what I have learned in my MAL courses to my career every day.  The courses have taught me to be a critical thinker and responsible leader in the workplace and embrace diversity in all aspects of my life. I believe that I am a more valuable employee since enrolling in the program.

The MAL program provided me peer connections that will last a lifetime.  This program brings together people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences which helps enrich the learning process – no carbon copy students here!”
– Rita Greenberg

“Diverse and accepting”

One of my favorite aspects of the MAL program at Augsburg is the widely diverse classmates I have. Not only all the different ages and levels of work experience, but also the many different undergraduate degrees, different genders and multiple different ethnicities make learning exciting and new. Augsburg reflects America at its best: open and engaging, diverse and accepting.

I was drawn to the MAL program at Augsburg by the opportunity to customize my studies with 7 different elective courses that really spoke to me. Being able to choose the exact courses to help me tailor my graduate degree to align with my professional goals made Augsburg’s the best possible program choice. I also love that there are two different summer sessions; this lets me take classes at four different times a year and get through the program as quickly as I want.”
– Howie Smith

“i was ABSOLUTELY thrilled with the augsburg professors”

“The benefits of the MAL program have really broadened and enhanced my knowledge and understanding of “leadership.”  With every class, I have been able to directly apply concepts learned to my work environment.  Not only have I grown as a leader, but the knowledge gained has helped me to influence and grow leaders in my organization. I feel empowered – because I know more.  This enables me to share concepts learned and enhance the confidence of my colleagues, associates and senior leaders.

I was worried about handling my career, family life and studies at first, but Augsburg offers courses in multiple formats which enable students to balance multiple and competing priorities and actualize their dreams as well.  I also need to say here that it was easier than I thought because I learned that Augsburg was equally invested in my success and I felt like I wasn’t in it alone. I have been absolutely thrilled with the depth of knowledge, approachability and accessibility of the Augsburg professors.”
– Brenda Starr

“rewarding and profitable”

“Completing the MAL program at Augsburg was one of the most rewarding and profitable things I have ever done. My professors, classmates and the library staff were always approachable, helpful, interesting and motivating.  This benefited me in many ways but most importantly, they helped me be a better person and student.

The location of Augsburg and the class schedules worked out for my family, work, and international travel commitments.  There never were any problems attending classes, study group meetings and using the library.  Completing the MAL program improved my confidence and ability as a leader and manager.  This occurred in the areas of staff and workforce training and dealing with change management issues.”
– Jim Kline


Anne Rodenberg

“Studying leadership at the graduate level builds upon my professional experience gained in 17 years of working in communications and marketing. I’ve had the opportunity to lead many projects and teams, and augmenting that experience with formal leadership training will help me become a stronger, more ‘conscious’ leader in the future. I enjoy learning about the qualities of a good leader and aspire to incorporate more of them into my own style.”
– Anne Rodenberg

“To know myself better”

Shawntan Howell

“I got my BA in computer science and statistics, and right after graduation I went into the workforce. After 13 years and two companies, I found myself frustrated with where I was in my career. At that point, I realized that in order to better understand where I want my career to go, I needed to better understand me. I knew I had leadership qualities, but I wanted to find my niche and be able to communicate that clearly and with confidence. Therefore, I chose to go back to school to start on my personal improvement journey.”
– Shawntan Howell

“To help move the world to a better place”

Edward Matchett

“I’d say a sense of altruism and a desire to move the world toward a better place in whatever capacity I could be most effective. Knowing that our society and our organizations are only as effective as the people that comprise them, I sought to cultivate the experiences and education I would need to help steer whatever organization I happened to occupy to higher ground.“
– Edward Matchett

“The desire to attain an advanced degree”

Jocelyn Beard

“The desire to attain an advanced degree was strong for me when I applied to the MAL program because most individuals in the organization I worked for, at the time, held Master’s degrees. I felt like I would not be able to move forward in my career or have any bargaining leverage if I didn’t pursue it at that time.”
–Jocelyn Beard

Why did you consider the MAL program at Augsburg?

“Because of the people who were attending”

David Limberg

“I looked into several other programs both big and small. They all had positive aspects to them, but when I visited Augsburg for the first time it was different. I discovered the program was a format that fit with my work and life schedule. I felt like I belonged at Augsburg not only because of the curriculum, but more importantly because of the people who were attending and facilitating the session.”
– David Limberg

What practical benefits did you get from your leadership studies?

“To lead our organization in a values and vision exercise”

Tom Larson

“I will provide a real life example. We were studying Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline. I was researching how a leader effectively creates a vision AND then implements that corporately in a ‘shared vision.’ Much of my research centered on the importance of finding common ground between individual values and corporate values. One aspect of my research was to interview individual leaders, so I approached my current boss who also happened to be the founder of a little start-up company at the time, called Capella University. After the interview, my boss (who also was a former CEO at a Fortune 500 company), asked me to lead our organization in a values and vision exercise. Not only was this a practical benefit from my studies, but it also was one of those moments that really validated the importance of leadership and the impact it has on an organization.”
– Tom Larson