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Dan Staskowski Hopes to Pave Way for Upper Management Role With MBA

Dan Staskowski’s ‘plan B’ is working out pretty well.

“I initially wanted to pursue a career in healthcare,” he said. “After spending some time in a hospital, I realized I wasn’t comfortable in that type of environment.

“I wanted to contribute to society in a different way. I felt I had a different skill set. I liked interacting with people and felt management was in my future.”

Staskowski was right. Now, he is laying the groundwork to achieve his long-term goals in the online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at La Salle University. He is on track to graduate in December 2022.

“I waited five years after graduating with my undergrad to do the normal things, like pay down some debt, get some industry experience and take a break from education,” he said. “I want to get to a higher level of management.”

Since enrolling at La Salle, Staskowski landed a position as a quality control manager at AbbVie, headquartered in New York City. The Pennsylvania local lives in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

“The vast majority of the content from this program has been immediately applicable,” he said. “It helps that I got a management role not far after I started the program.

“I was learning each day with on-the-job experience. I would come home, read something in the textbook, then go to work the next day and immediately start applying it. That’s really exciting.”

The online format also helped Staskowski transition into his new role at the company without missing a beat in the MBA program.

“Sometimes the workdays can be long, while other times they are not,” he said. “I am getting home at different times during the week. The online program gives me the flexibility to do what I need to do.”

Change of Direction

Staskowski is from Allentown, where he discovered an early affinity for learning about science and nature.

“I always had a general interest in biology and how the human body works — especially the immune system,” he said. “I was interested in it from an academic standpoint. I wanted to fix people’s problems like an auto mechanic fixes a car.”

By the time Staskowski graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from East Stroudsburg University in 2013, however, the writing was on the wall for his career.

“In the hospital environment, some of the things you have to communicate to the families are extreme and some of the cases are pretty sad,” he said. “It takes a special person to do that. It’s suited for a different person than I.”

Since graduation, Staskowski has worked as a microbiologist and quality control specialist and gained real-world experience. He enrolled at La Salle in January 2019.

“I was looking for an online program offered by a brick-and-mortar college with a strong reputation,” he said. “I needed the flexibility offered by an online program, but my expectation was that I’d be taught by the professor who would be available for one-on-one online office hours, and I would be evaluated by that same professor.

“A brick-and-mortar college gives me the confidence in the legitimacy and the foundation of the education I was purchasing. Then, I needed an AACSB-accredited school, which is the highest accreditation for business schools.

“La Salle is also a Catholic college, so I appreciate that alignment between the school and my own core values. It was a match made in heaven.”

So far, Developing Your Leadership Skills, taught by Gregory Bruce, is Staskowski’s favorite course in the online MBA program.

“It shed light on self-awareness,” he said. “By doing the surveys and introspective work that course demanded, it helped me realize how others perceive me — my peers, my team at work — and gave me key things to work on and aided in my development.”

More to Explore

Staskowski credits the support of his family and friends for part of his success in returning to higher education.

“My parents really drove me in that direction when I was working through undergrad,” he said. “They thought it would be good to get higher education, and they supported my long-term ambitions of management.

“My wife, Emily, and I made the decision together, and we have an understanding that between work and school, there was going to be a lot of demands. I wouldn’t be where I am in the program today without her support.”

After recently visiting campus for the first time, Staskowski looks forward to returning to La Salle to walk in the commencement ceremony later this year.

“I’m looking forward to that,” he said. “I got to meet the program director and some favorite professors, including Professor Bruce. My wife and I got acquainted with the culture and what La Salle is all about.”

Staskowski believes that having an MBA will help him land a position in upper management — especially because he is tailoring his degree to his needs and goals.

“You have to choose three different specialization courses in the program,” he said. “I did one in data visualization, one in leadership and one in SAP and ERP software systems, which is applicable because I am a manager in a manufacturing environment.

“I get a lot of different tools that managers are expected to have. An MBA is a formal education giving formal guidance and a path to success in that career that people without an MBA aren’t going to get.”

Staskowski, who enjoys camping and fishing in his free time, believes that earning an MBA at La Salle is a recipe for his continued success.

“You should expect to get out of the program what you put into it,” he said. “If you are all in and you dive in with both feet and commit yourself to the course content, it’s going to enrich your experience more.

“You’ll get more out of it and be better in your role from the effort you put into the program. I would do it again.”

Learn more about La Salle University’s online MBA program.

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