The stars aligned toward an MBA
Rylee Leonard earned her undergraduate degree at UNH in speech pathology and audiology. After launching her own food truck company her sophomore year, she realized she had an interest in business and the one-year MBA provided her the opportunity to learn core concepts and take a deeper dive into learning about entrepreneurship and the startup culture.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and why you wanted to get a graduate degree?
As an undergraduate student-athlete here at UNH, I studied speech pathology and audiology. In my sophomore year, my teammate and I decided to launch our own food truck company, The Protein Bar NH, which allowed me to realize that I love the business realm and everything it encompasses. When I tore my ACL playing lacrosse and was subsequently granted a 5th year of NCAA eligibility, I knew right away that the stars were aligning for me to use this year to get my MBA.
Are you currently working, and where?
I am currently an intern at Vital Design in Portsmouth, N.H. I will be starting a full-time position there this June!
What are you hoping to learn to help you advance or pivot in your career?
I began the MBA program with the hope of learning anything and everything that I possibly could absorb about business in just one year. I was excited to learn more about the startup environment and entrepreneurship, but I was also eager to learn the core business concepts such as finance and accounting.
Why did you choose UNH and Paul College to get your graduate degree?
I chose UNH and Paul College to get my graduate degree because to me, it is home. It became evident early on in my time here that choosing UNH for my undergraduate studies was the best decision I have ever made. To be granted the opportunity to finish out my lacrosse career here with a degree from Paul College was a no brainer!
Have you had a favorite class and/or professor, and what made them outstanding?
My favorite class throughout my time in the MBA Program has been Creating Winning Strategies with Andrew Earle. This class is interesting because we are talking about present day business problems and using strategy to come up with applicable, real-world solutions. Professor Earle brings an energy to the classroom like no other that is especially appreciated during such a unique time in regard to the pandemic affecting the classroom.
Have you learned/discovered anything during your program that’s surprised you? If so, what and how do you think you will apply it professionally?
Throughout this program, my exposure to learning from and collaborating with people from different backgrounds has continuously grown. Through both the International Business course and the Corporate Consulting Project, we were able to not only learn about working with different cultures but to actually put these learnings into action. This program often pushed us to step out of our comfort zone, allowing us to grow our skill sets a great deal before we enter the professional world.
What do you consider to be the strengths of the program?
The strengths of this program are the many kind and caring professors. Students can really feel a sense of support from the professors at UNH and always know that you have someone in your corner that is rooting for you.
Anything else we might want to know?
I am forever grateful for the professors, coaches, friends and alumni that have pushed me to grow throughout my journey at UNH. Being a part of UNH athletics and Paul College has has shaped me into the person I am today, and I look forward to using my experiences here in all of my future endeavors.