A master in business administration (MBA) can be applied to all types of careers, including positions in higher education at colleges and universities. That’s what Daniel Kagdis ’10 figured when he decided to pursue an MBA while working as assistant director of undergraduate admission at Fairfield University.
After graduating with a major in communication from Fairfield’s College of Arts and Sciences and a minor in management from the Dolan School of Business, Kagdis was considering post-grad service positions when Karen Pelligrino, Dean of Enrollment at Fairfield University, offered him a job in the Admission office.
“It was a nice continuous formation,” Kagdis said about his path to a career in undergraduate admission. Before he worked at Fairfield’s Admission office, his experience began while he was studying abroad in Brisbane, Australia.
“While I was in Australia, I took four classes, surfed a ton, and worked in the admission office at Australian Catholic University (ACU),” he said. The experience was a positive one for him (he still keeps in touch with his advisor at ACU) and when he returned to the states, he applied for a summer tour guide position at Fairfield. From there, his involvement increased and culminated in a job offer. He started the position soon after he graduated from Fairfield and immediately began considering graduate programs to further his educational acumen.
Kagdis chose the MBA program with a focus on management. “I wanted to focus on entrepreneurship,” he explained. “And the MBA was broad. I wouldn’t just be learning management, but accounting, finance — everything. I liked the expansiveness of the courses and the reputation of the MBA program was strong.”
Valuable courses for him have included management and finance classes. “Every class I’ve taken with [management professor] Dr. Lisa Mainero has been great,” he said. He has also gotten value out of the finance course, “Shareholder Value.” “The simulations for that class were really good,” he explained. “Not only are you learning from the professor, but the students in your group.”
Kagdis’ duties in the admission office include outreach to and coordination of alumni to cover college fairs; travel to college fairs in his territories, which include Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri, event planning, and, of course, reading prospective student applications. In addition, Kagdis has been involved in mission and service trips through the University’s Campus Ministry Office. Dr. Mark Ligas, associate dean in the Dolan School and director of Graduate Programs, said, “What I really like about Dan, beyond the fact that he has a great personality, is that he truly continues to live the mission of our Jesuit education. His service activities are quite impressive. What stands out to me is how Dan is able to balance the huge pressures of working in admissions, while also completing the MBA degree and leading so many service opportunities.”
Just three courses away from graduating, Kagdis is considering a Ph.D. program in educational leadership, which should combine well with his MBA studies. “I like working in higher education,” he said. “And I think it’s important for people in this career to also have a business background.”
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