After earning her bachelor’s degree in 2004 from Villanova University in Pennsylvania, Katherine Pfohl, ’13, MBA, returned to Raleigh to join Sunrock Group Holdings Corporation, the company her family has owned for 65 years. As she climbed the corporate ladder – first as corporate secretary and eventually vice president of administration – she supplemented her social sciences background with on-the-job business training.
When she decided she wanted to fully round out her skillset and knowledge base to further advance her career, she chose to enroll in the Meredith MBA’s one-year accelerated degree program.
“Meredith’s location was key in allowing me to remain involved at work on a part-time basis while I completed my degree at a quicker pace than traditional full-time programs,” she said. She was also drawn to the flexibility, quality of the faculty, and low student-to-faculty ratio of Meredith’s program.
Once enrolled, Pfohl found even more to like. Classroom discussions offered insights from diverse industries and points of view. In-depth case studies fostered an appreciation of all the moving parts that comprise a business.
She enhanced the business know-how she picked up throughout her career. “My Meredith MBA rounded out my academic and professional training and gave me added confidence in my abilities.”
Those abilities include effective communication and organization. “You only get one chance to make a first impression,” Pfohl said. “In the boardroom you need to have your facts straight, your message on point, and your command of the topic unwavering. How you prepare those components can make all the difference.”
Pfohl also discovered a knack for time management. “Balancing my personal and professional life while going through the program forced me to be more focused and accountable for my time,” she said. It’s a mindset that has served her well. “Practicing thoughtful time management has made me more effective and efficient.”
Her increased aptitude has not gone unnoticed. In November 2013, she was promoted to executive vice president of Sunrock. In her new position, she is responsible for the legal, compliance, human resources, and administrative functions of the organization. She’s also involved in setting the company’s strategic direction and implementing change management initiatives.
One lesson that she took away from the program is especially important to her in her new role – the significance of a strong team. “The value of a successful team is one that builds on individual strengths for the collective good of the team,” she said. “Even though team members may have different technical competencies, work styles, and strengths, the end result is a deeper appreciation for the value of teamwork and a celebration of individual strengths.”
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