“The unexpected benefit of attending Olin turned out to be the 25 to 30 new friends I’ve acquired. I didn’t anticipate the opportunity to learn from them and spend so much time with them after class and on the weekends.”
Kim Helgen is a people person. She has to be in order to excel in the role of customer operations for Monsanto. So, when she came to Olin, it wasn’t necessarily to further her people skills. She was seeking cross-functional skills that would broaden her baseline knowledge.
With an undergraduate degree in business, Helgen expected the Core classes to cover similar topics she had already encountered. She found, however, that utilizing on-the-job knowledge while considering business subject matters gave her a whole new perspective. She says, “Because of my previous and current experience in a business position, I saw the importance and implications of the curriculum from an alternative viewpoint, which allowed the content to be immediately applicable in my career.”
Helgen’s cohort group melded together immediately. She was also happy, and somewhat surprised, to be exposed to full-time MBA students in her electives. “I live far away and drive in for work and school,” she says. “Now, I have many contacts in the city.”
Because Helgen works for a global company, she is excited to be learning alongside international students. She appreciates that networking at Olin has such far-reaching potential. “Through the program I have formed connections with students from countries such as France and India. Staying associated with these students will be valuable as I continue to build and develop my career,” she says.
People and politics
One of the classes Helgen has found the most insightful is “Power and Politics.” “It examines the varying components of power from the perspectives of both large corporations and smaller companies, she says. “Hearing insights from classmates who work at businesses of all sizes has demonstrated that there are a lot more similarities. Many of the solutions they proposed could be applicable even in a large corporation like Monsanto.” Helgen believes this subject matter is important to her career especially since it is not often taught or communicated in business cultures.
Kim Helgen, Professional MBA
Seed Service Advisor, Monsanto, St. Louis