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Carmen Urbonas, CPS’16,  shares her perspective on Northeastern’s Master of Science in Leadership program and how it helped her achieve her career goals.

MS in Leadership Alumna

Name: Carmen Urbonas

College: College of Professional Studies

Degree: Master of Science in Leadership

Current Role: Director of Human Resources at Dexter Southfield


Q & A with Carmen Urbonas

Tell us about your current role.

I am Director of Human Resources at Dexter Southfield, where I lead all people-driven strategic initiatives and programming.

Why did you choose to enroll in Northeastern’s Master of Science in Leadership program?

I chose Northeastern University because of its stellar reputation as a leader in higher education, its vast alumni network, and, most notably, the relevance of leadership coursework which allowed me to immediately transfer knowledge from the classroom to my career as a human resources professional.

What was the most impactful part of the program for you?

The graduate leadership program at Northeastern helped broaden my perspective and expand my leadership skills so that I could lead strategic initiatives and change. Through coursework, class discussions, and the hands-on transfer of this knowledge to my workplace, I learned how to effectively lead change by influencing and engaging others, building effective teams, and aligning strategic goals with clearly defined expectations.

From learning how to effectively communicate the hows and whys of change to managing the relationships and conflicts commonly associated with change, Northeastern taught me how to analyze and understand the big picture, develop and implement a plan of action, and ensure alignment between an organization’s strategic goals and the talents of our workforce.

Northeastern’s diverse student [population] and learning modalities also offered me an advantage when it came to cultural awareness, allowing me to refine my communication and collaboration skills and become more business-savvy in today’s global environment.

How has your advanced degree helped you further your career and reach your personal or professional goals? 

We live in a world where change is constant, and the most effective leaders and decision makers are those who readily adapt to and effectively influence change. After a career hiatus to raise my children, I knew that to remain competitive in a tight job market I would have to demonstrate that I was not only employable but highly valuable.

My return to Northeastern demonstrated my commitment to lifelong learning and gave me a competitive advantage in that I was able to immediately transfer all that I learned in the classroom to my role as a human resources professional.

I began thinking and talking like a leader and soon earned the trust, respect, and attention of other C-level executives. Relying on my coursework and the experience gained from Northeastern’s well-respected faculty allowed me to design and implement a comprehensive leadership training programs as well as a performance management structure with clearly defined goals and measurable expectations.

Both initiatives yielded a more effective workforce through greater productivity, alignment of strategic goals, the development of a leadership mindset, and the ongoing promotion of a culture of excellence. With less need to manage day-to-day problems, we found ourselves focusing on strategic leadership initiative and organizational growth.

During my graduate studies at Northeastern, I earned two promotions in my former role and more than doubled my salary. After completing my graduate degree, I pursued my lifelong dream of combining my passion (education) with my profession (human resources).

Today I serve as the Director of Human Resources at Dexter Southfield, one of the region’s most respected private schools, where we not only help our students but our entire workforce learn to lead with confidence. Echoing the words of one of our alumni, President John F. Kennedy, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”

Through learning about leadership at Northeastern University, I have been able to achieve both personal and professional success in a career that combines my passion and profession.

What would you tell someone who is considering Northeastern’s MS in Leadership program?

We are fortunate to live in a time and a world where education is readily accessible to most, but that does not mean that all education is created equal.

My graduate degree in leadership from Northeastern has proven to be the golden ticket for my professional and personal success. Earning my graduate degree from Northeastern University has, without a doubt, been the best career decision I have ever made.

It has not only opened countless doors of opportunity and growth for me professionally, but it has enriched my life personally by allowing me to learn, see, communicate, collaborate, and engage with others from a more global perspective and with greater understanding. This is the Northeastern University advantage. It has allowed me to distinguish myself as a leader and it can do the same for you.

To learn more about how a leadership degree can help propel your career, explore our graduate leadership programs or download our free guide below.


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