Mary Vandewiele

Mary Vandewiele, MBA '15

Reclaiming Confidence

It can be challenging at the top for women in business, but Mary Vandewiele, MBA ‘15, vowed she would make her voice heard.

“Five years back I was in a partner meeting to decide next steps for our organization. The other partners in the room were very passionate, and their voices kept getting louder and louder. I realized I would never have the loudest voice in the room, but I wished to have a more competent voice. I decided to go back and get my MBA.  

Self-confidence has been a major benefit of the program. I can now provide an opinion on things I wouldn’t have been able to before. I have a sophisticated toolbox. I don’t have all the information, but I have the concepts and I can speak the language.

Another highlight for Mary was her ExecMAP project. “We worked with a pharmaceutical startup that distributes CBD oil. We looked at market entry, competition, and barriers to entry. They changed their name and strategy based on our recommendations. They were very appreciative of our analysis.

“MAP taught me the importance of marketing strategy for a new product. I really utilized the concepts from our strategy class, and I’ve carried that knowledge into my work at the Better Health Store.”

The Michigan Model of Leadership has also been really helpful for Mary. “Learning what type of leader I am, and my innate leadership style, has been so important. I am a big believer in leading with your strengths, and Ross encourages that. You don’t need to change who you are — you should be authentic.”