President's Scholars' Rebecca Soriano: Jack-of-All-Trades

Lake Effects Blog

Friday, June 03, 2016

Rebecca Soriano, Senior Supply Chain specialist at Honeywell, was one of five recipients of Lake Forest Graduate School of Management’s President’s Scholars Program Scholarship. President’s Scholars are individuals who demonstrate exceptional leadership qualities, achieve measurable results and exhibit high growth potential. They join a tight-knit community of highly motivated professionals and dedicated Business Leader Faculty® mentors.

Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM) sat down with Rebecca to talk about her career shift from engineering to business, what it’s like having LFGSM CEO and President Jeff Anderson as a mentor, and how the President’s Scholars Program has impacted her life.

Rebecca Soriano could be considered a jack-of-all-trades. Rebecca’s resume includes: Plant Design Engineer, Process Development Engineer, Six Sigma Blackbelt, Distribution Leader, and Supply Chain Specialist. Most people may take on one or two of these specialties in a career, but Rebecca has taken on all of them in just 12 years.

“I have had quite a varied experience,” Rebecca said. “But right now all I am thinking about is what is next – how will all my experiences fit together.”

The Light Bulb Moment

“There’s something to be said about going back to school,” Rebecca said. “It’s an enlightening process that turns around everything you thought you knew in your head and makes you rethink and re-frame it.”

For Rebecca, the decision to go back to school was a driven by her career ambitions. “I talked it over with my husband and knew if I wanted to stay in supply chain, I needed that next step. In order to move up the career ladder, I knew I needed the extra school to help me advance.”

LFGSM fit all of Rebecca’s needs and career objectives: working program, practical learning, and real life application. Waiting more than 10 years to go back to school has proven to be a benefit for Rebecca. Since all courses at LFGSM are taught by Business Leader Faculty®, executives who practice what they teach, Rebecca has been able to learn very practical things that she can actually use in her job – from advancing strategy, to incorporating innovation into everyday practices, to driving change.

But going back to school is no easy feat, especially after being in the working world. We forget what it’s like to go to class, takes tests, and write papers. “Sometimes I stop and think – This is really hard. Do I still want to do this?” Rebecca said. “But I’ve learned to accept that I am not always going to get a perfect score, or that I need to spend extra time on how to think and apply strategy to my every day job.”

Learning From the Best

The classmates who join Rebecca as President’s Scholars all have exceptional leadership qualities and have achieved great things throughout their careers. Being a part of such an accomplished group of individuals has given Rebecca the opportunity to learn from her peers. “I don’t have a lot of professional women to look up to,” Rebecca said, “so it’s been great to see how Megan and Gillian (President’s Scholars) perform in business.”

When asked what has been the greatest benefit of the President’s Scholars Program, Rebecca is quick to answer in two words: Jeff Anderson. Throughout the MBA Program, each President’s Scholar receives one-on-one mentoring from Jeff, where he guides and advises them about such things as business, career, and leadership. Coming from an engineering background, the guidance from Jeff has been a particular asset for Rebecca in terms of how to think and act as a business professional.

“Jeff has given me an extra tool for my business toolkit,” Rebecca said. “He pushed me to call the President of one of Sun Chemicals’ business units and I talked to him for 30 minutes. If it weren’t for Jeff or this program, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to call him.”

A Business of Her Own

Rebecca isn’t finished with being a jack-of-all-trades. She hopes to one day add another position to her long list of career specialties: CEO and Founder of her own makeup company.

When asked about her career goals, Rebecca took us by surprise by responding “Someday I’d like to own a makeup business.” Thanks to her experience at LFGSM, accomplishing her goal is not as far as it once was. “My classes at LFGSM and the mentoring sessions with Jeff have pushed me one step closer to my goal. Now, I’m always thinking about how will I get there and how will I lead?”

 


We are currently seeking applicants for the next group of President’s Scholars. To be considered for the President’s Scholars Program for the Fall Term of the 2016-2017 academic year, candidates must complete the Lake Forest MBA admissions process by July 1. Click here for more information.

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