Bing tracking

What Students and Alumni Say About the MAL Program

What factors steered you toward leadership?

“Wanted to dive deeper into inclusive, equity-minded leadership”

I appreciated the depth and breadth of the program and the diversity of perspectives brought by colleagues from a variety of industries from non-profits to hospitals, to technology, or even manufacturing.   I love that others have worked in a variety of industries and backgrounds- real world examples help push you think deeper about what we’re talking about- look at it through a different lens. It’s not just hypothetical. You are inspired to consider, what else can I offer?  You’re exposed to different ideas and figure out different paths to the shared end goal.

Much of the work was around organizational culture- what does it look like and how it manifests- how it drives decisions and collaborations in organizations. I deepened my understanding of the ways that organizational members interact, and how leaders embrace differences in team members.  So much of the organizational culture influences how organizations function- or don’t. I learned how to “best navigate and leverage the diversity of our teams at work,” examining, “how do we connect, reach, and foster growth in a diverse team.” 

-Nathan Stensrud

“Perfect fit for what I wanted to accomplish next”

Diana Pierce

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 University. After a search of the University’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”

Randall Ross

“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”

Rita Greenberg

“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”

Howie Smith

“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”

Brenda Starr

“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”

Jim Kline

“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

“Being in the MAL program gave me the confidence and mental bandwidth to move forward with a career change.

“Augsburg has a tightly woven relationship with its community and the education is fully integrated within and throughout its neighbors, far and wide. One of Augsburg’s unwritten goals is to make the world a better place for all. I agree with that philosophy!  hen I was in the MAL program, I was working full time and had young twins. The faculty met me where I was, and offered the structure and personal support I needed to get through some of the more labor-intensive work. I loved that I could take one class at a time, over five years, to get through the program successfully.  My success in the classes helped me see that I could take risks and be OK.  I truly appreciate Augsburg’s mission to help students be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. That thread runs through everything I have experienced with Augsburg. The integrity is 100% there. I also love the model on which the MAL program is based. It is a multi-faceted lens that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking.  If you are ready and willing to think broadly and expand your horizons in ways you are not expecting or haven’t yet imagined, choose Augsburg. You will surprise yourself with what you can and will do.”
– 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?

“For the diversity, the program offering and the faculty.”

Lindsay Herr“I absolutely loved the faculty who led us through the MAL program. Some have been mentors to me outside of the program.  This program helped me in numerous ways, but most notably gave me the experience, intellect and tools to lead through situations in ALL aspects of life – at work, in the community and at home.  The faculty and the rich diversity are bar none.  Augsburg is a special gem in the heart of Minneapolis, teaching and leading students through core values that translate into all aspects of life.”

-Lindsay Herr

“It has a ‘family feel’ to it and the campus is intimate and welcoming.”

“{A} colleague from Target highly recommended it. I wanted to learn inside the classroom versus doing it online. {Augusburg has a} small faculty : student ratio is highly attractive. Teachers know you as a person. It provided me additional leadership tools, resources and educational sources to incorporate into my leadership role for my company. You’ll get a hands on learning experience, be able to personally interact and learn from others from around the Minneapolis community.”

— Jason Jones

“The good reputation of the University, the Rochester center, and the combined MBA/MAL program.”

“One of the main benefits of the faculty is the wide range of different work and life experiences held in addition to their academic appointments. In general, the faculty were not only excellent instructors but also interested in the career development of the students. Most all the faculty had a genuine interest in remaining connected with the students after finishing the courses and offered the future guidance on potential career opportunities. Although I just graduated I will certainly reach out to the faculty with questions and guidance in the near future. I was fortunate enough to participate in the combined MBA/MAL program with each degree offering a number of benefits. One of the things that I appreciated about the leadership courses was an emphasis on personal development and growth. We completed a number of self-assessments that have really given me more self-awareness on my strengths as well as opportunities for growth as a leader.  I’ve been a student at three other universities during my career and can say that I am glad that Augsburg the University was my last stop. The quality of the professors in the MBA/MAL programs are the main strength of the university. I am a better leader after going through the program.  If you are a student that wants to gain real-world applicable skills to be successful in the workforce to allow you to excel and grow as a person as well as a leader, I would highly recommend the Augsburg University MBA/MAL programs.  I would like to thank all the professors as well as the staff of Augsburg university for all the time and dedication they have to making the school a meaningful place to further ones studies. I would also like to thank the students in my classes as the diversity of thought and different perspectives made the programs more valuable to me.”

— Ryan Hurt

“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?

“The program offers a rich curriculum that helped me understand and apply leadership practices at a personal, organizational and community level.”

“The courses offered were exactly what I was looking for.  The faculty demonstrate expertise in their fields as well as a lot of empathy for students. They invite students to share their own diverse experiences to foster connection and enhance each class.  Augsburg is welcoming and inclusive. Students are there to advance in their careers, but they also care about one another and want their leadership to create positive change in their organizations and communities.  The Augsburg MAL is a great investment of your time and money. The coursework is highly relevant and you’ll actually enjoy your time there.”

–Gina Kennedy

“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