Candace Berry has big goals: She and her husband plan to open their own business in the future. Berry will graduate this spring from Washington University in St. Louis with a master’s degree in engineering management, and she said she feels more than ready to take on those plans.
“I learned so much about leadership, management and business that will benefit me now,” Berry said. “I also learned about entrepreneurship, so I feel better equipped to run my own business.”
Berry, who works as a senior program manager of global supply chain for World Wide Technology, decided to return to school to gain the skills she thought would help her become a better manager.
“I’d gotten good results so far just by intelligence and work ethic, but I knew I could do more if I were to get some formal training and development,” she said. “I felt that I owed it to the people I will eventually manage and lead to study to learn how to be a good manager and leader. WashU had the best combination of courses that offered me the development I was looking for.”
Berry acknowledged that it wasn’t easy to balance work, school and her other responsibilities, but with help from her family, she made it work.
“I accepted a ton of help from family, friends and paid services,” Berry said. “The word ‘accepted’ is key, because I tend to not want to inconvenience anyone else, but doing this alone just wasn’t sustainable.”
Berry also credits the faculty she worked with at the Henry Edwin Sever Institute for helping her succeed.
“Peggy Matson is so inspiring, and her level of commitment to students means so much,” Berry said. “She makes us feel uniquely seen and encouraged us. It motivated me so much to know that she cared and believed in us.”
Matson is the program director of graduate studies in engineering management and project management.
Berry encourages anyone who’s looking to go back to school to fully commit to their studies and to study something they’re truly passionate about. She also said that students should focus on opportunities outside the coursework.
“Don’t go just for the diploma,” she said. “There’s so much that can be truly transformative if you engage with the material, your professors and your peers more than the bare minimum needed to pass the courses.”