Deb Degillio

Deb Degillio, MBA '12

Sharpening Her Business Acumen

Deb held various high-level roles in finance at American Water prior to obtaining her Executive MBA from Michigan Ross, but her career really took off after graduation. Since obtaining her MBA, Deb has been promoted three times – and now she’s president of American Water Enterprises, a subsidiary of the company.

Deb says, “My MBA experience helped me become a better leader by giving me a baseline understanding across a broad range of business areas and functions.”

​Until recently, my entire career was in finance. Now I am leading a business with over 750 employees.

Leading a large organization requires a wide base of knowledge. “My Michigan MBA helped me leverage what I learned in supply chain, strategy, business law, and other areas. I have a solid foundation of knowledge that helps me ask the right questions.”

This broad understanding enables strategic and forward thinking. “It's very easy to tackle the issues and problems we are most comfortable solving – for me, that would absolutely be anything financial. Being able to pull up to a higher level and understand all of the impacts on customers, employees, and other stakeholders makes me a better visionary thinker.”

Executive-level communication was another skill Deb learned at Ross. “Michigan helped me take all the information from a complex problem and clearly communicate the right messages and information across all levels in my organization, from a call handler to our board of directors.”

Deb has found her peers to be incredibly helpful. “I have an amazing network of classmates from Michigan who are experts in many different functions across all industries. If I reach out to them, they are always willing and able to help.”