Leah Stokes is a UF MBA Executive student.

Executive MBA Spotlight: Leah Stokes

The UF MBA Executive program provides high-ranking business leaders with a transformational MBA experience. Learn more about Leah Stokes and her experience in the Executive program.

Q: What year will you graduate from the Executive MBA program?

Stokes: “I’m in the EMBA Class of 2020.”

Q: What undergraduate degrees do you hold and from what institutions? 

Stokes: “Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Arts in Economics — both from Converse College in South Carolina. I also have a Heart Rhythm Device Management Special Competency from the Arrhythmia Technologies Institute.”

Q: Can you give me a rundown of your professional background?

Stokes: “I am in the medical device sales field, specifically pacemakers and implantable defibrillators. My job requires sales skills, the people ability to gain trust with specialized cardiologists, and technical expertise in the engineering/physiology interface in the procedure room. Good communication, emotional intelligence, and a zest for challenge also minimize the crazy factor!”

Q: What made the Executive MBA program appealing to you?

Stokes: “I wanted to be back in an academic setting for the interactive nature of class style and networking with professors and other professionals. If you’re a social person, the executive format is the way to go! Two people in my class changed careers to totally new, unrelated fields based on networking and support from class friends, a testament to the caliber of our class and the untraditional nature of today’s career searches and lattice moves.”

Q: What were the benefits provided by going through the program while keeping your job?

Stokes: “There are so many intangible benefits: Advice from peers on day-to-day work-related problems, bouncing ideas off each other outside of class, and less of a horse-blinder outsider perspective on industry trends is to be gained. I’ve become more open to change in my business that is experiencing paradigm shifts and become more of a positive proponent of embracing change with my work colleagues.”  

Q: What has been the most impactful part of your time in the Executive MBA program?

Stokes: “One hundred percent building relationships with classmates and team members I have profound respect for.”

Q: What advice would you have for professionals considering the Executive MBA program?

Stokes: “It is such a stretch experience, in a nutshell.  Gain buy-in and ‘permission’ from your manager and work team, you’ll need their support (talking about the Fridays of each class weekend in our schedule.). It is tough, a very intensive format.  From weekend one, I was directly contributing more to my team at work and business felt so fresh and different with new perspectives from Harvard Business Review case studies, articles, and interactive class discussions.”