Axel Heimer, PMBA ’17

September 2017

When Axel Heimer entered the School of Management’s Professional MBA program, he was a front-line manager for a small group in operations at M&T Bank. His experience in the PMBA program led to an opportunity to work as an individual contributor, leading strategic initiatives for the bank. Just before he graduated in 2017, he was promoted to vice president and operations manager and now manages a department of four operational groups and a multimillion-dollar budget.

Q&A

Why did you decide to pursue your MBA?

In the highly competitive world of business, an MBA is the gold standard for educational excellence. I decided to pursue my MBA because I was looking for a new challenge, and wanted to expand my network and ensure that I had the skill set necessary for success in my future endeavors.

Why did you select the UB Professional MBA program?

The UB Professional MBA program is much more than a part-time MBA program — it’s designed from the ground up for working professionals. I chose this program because I wanted exposure to peers in other industries and to learn from world-class faculty that truly understand the demands of full time employment. Having completed the Professional MBA program, I cannot imagine attending any other school.

What concerns did you have coming into the program?

Deciding whether to pursue an MBA is never an easy decision. As a working professional with limited free time, I was concerned about making time for work, school, family and friends. After shadowing a few classes and discussing time management with current students and alumni, I decided to make the commitment. While I can’t say that I had much free time during the program, I can absolutely say that it was time well spent. Everyone in the program is balancing a busy schedule, so the staff and faculty understand that time is incredibly valuable for PMBA students. For this reason, they focus on ensuring that time is used efficiently and effectively.

What recommendations do you have for someone applying to the program?

If you’re in the process of applying to the PMBA program, I would like to start by congratulating you on deciding to make a personal investment into your future. The program will give you the opportunity to challenge yourself, expand your network and acquire critical business skills that will allow you to advance your career. What you learn in class in the evenings will be directly applicable the next day at work, so I encourage you to start applying the material immediately.

How did you create and use your support network?

One of the best aspects of the PMBA program is the cohort structure. Most of your classes are with the same group of students so you develop lifelong connections with your classmates. Having this built-in support network was vital to my success in the program. My peers challenged my assumptions, encouraged me to consider different perspectives, and helped me apply the concepts that we learned in class.

How did you apply what you learned in the program?

Motivating my team is a critical component of my role as a manager. Through the performance management class, I was able to learn about the science of human behavior. This has allowed me to identify and reinforce desirable behaviors and to understand why people do what they do. I leverage the concepts from that class every single day.

Experience it for Yourself

Attend an information session or visit a class to get an inside look at the Professional MBA classroom experience.