Employer Network Manager, The Software Guild
"The education I received at CSP made me a more informed and productive employee at my company."
CSP graduate Kipp Graham received his MBA from Concordia and began putting it to use right away. Kipp’s education has made substantial impacts on his career, and it didn’t take long to show either. He was promoted to a managerial position for his company and attributes much of his professional growth to his studies here at Concordia. We were able to catch up in-between his busy schedule to talk about his experience at CSP.
Q: Describe your current job role and responsibilities:
A: As Employer Network Manager for The Software Guild, I am in charge of career services for our students and graduates, as well as building relationships with employers within the Twin Cities. In my role, I have helped more than 200 students find jobs within the software development field and collaborated with more than 100 local companies to modify their hiring practices. I truly love my job and revel in the chance to strengthen ties within the community and better prepare students to find a rewarding career.
Q: What has your career path been?
A: I like to joke that I have held every job under the sun. While in high school and during my undergraduate studies in Psychology at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, I worked as a painter, a taxi driver, a tennis coach, a landscaper, and even sold Cutco knives. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, I took a role as at Kforce Staffing as a Technical Recruiter. While working at the staffing agency, I would eventually connect with my current employer, The Software Guild, by hiring the program’s graduates into various roles, and also volunteering with the company. Eventually, The Software Guild asked me if I would join their team as the Employer Network Manager and help their students find jobs full time. Almost 4 years later, I still love what I do.
Q: What motivated you to continue your education and pursue this Concordia degree?
A: When my employer, The Software Guild, opened a branch in Minnesota, they first did so by partnering with Concordia St. Paul. After joining The Software Guild, I found myself working with many different students and companies, as well as leading initiatives within my organization. Concordia’s Masters in Business Administration degree was a way in which to strengthen my communication and leadership skills in order to more effectively and creatively accomplish those tasks.
Q: Why did you choose CSP?
My employer, The Software Guild, and our parent company, The Learning House, have always had very strong ties to Concordia St. Paul. The partnership between CSP and my company allowed me to see the benefits of the MBA program and how much it would facilitate my personal and professional growth.
Q: How would you describe your CSP experience?
A: The MBA program at Concordia St. Paul was unlike any educational experience I ever had. The cohort-based system allowed me to take every class with the same group of students, which facilitated a more trusting environment in which to ask questions and challenge each other. This also meant more time to create meaningful relationships with peers that continue to this day.
Q: Who were some of the people at CSP that influenced you the most, and how?
While the faculty was outstanding, and their real-world experiences made an extremely positive impact on the classroom, my peers within the cohort were the most influential in my journey. By working with the same students throughout the two-year MBA program, we were able to make lasting connections and truly impact one another’s learning on a meaningful level.
Q: What is your favorite memory from your program?
A: My favorite memory from the program was the last class that we all participated in as a cohort. The class decided to have a barbeque in one student’s backyard and reflect on the time we had all spent together. This was an excellent night where we celebrated, laughed, and looked back on the extraordinary changes we had all experienced in our education and careers over the last two years.
Q: How has your CSP education impacted your life and career?
A: The education I received at CSP made me a more informed and productive employee at my company. By focusing my research on my industry, I was able to learn more about where my company was positioned within the market, and effect real change to be competitive in the direction my company is heading. By assigning papers and projects that were flexible enough to be tailored specifically to my job, CSP gave me a unique opportunity to learn academic principles while also directly increasing my market value and industry knowledge.