Corporate MBA Partnership Propels Career Advancement

Barbara Siegel

Friday, January 16, 2015

At Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM), our sole mission since 1946 has been to provide business education from business leaders. To meet our mission, we’ve partnered with area businesses to offer their employees MBAs and certificate programs that serve their strategic interests and leadership development goals.

One of our long term partners is Allstate Corporation, based on Northbrook, Illinois. Students who choose to pursue an LFGSM MBA have the opportunity to go to class with their fellow Allstate employees on-site at their Northbrook headquarters or at LFGSM locations in Lake Forest, Schaumburg or online. For Allstate Vice President and MBA graduate Shantelle Thomas, the on-site program was right up her alley.

Having spent 18 years – her entire professional career – with Allstate, Shantelle held various positions with the company, mostly focusing on pricing and actuarial analysis. She holds an undergraduate degree in math and always knew she would pursue a master’s degree. The LFGSM cohort in 2008 was her perfect opportunity to start.

“My whole career had been in one functional area so I was interested in broadening my perspective on other areas of business like operations and marketing,” says Shantelle. “I wanted to contribute beyond my comfort level to help move Allstate forward.”

As a working mother of one child and another on the way, convenience was a top consideration for Shantelle’s education.

“With a growing family and busy schedule, there was no way I could do it if it wasn’t convenient,” she stated. “Only having to stay late one night a week without having to leave my workplace was pretty incredible. To add some variety, I also attended two or three classes on the Lake Forest and Schaumburg locations. It was a nice change from time to time.”

Shantelle didn’t know when she started how much she would appreciate the perspectives she received from her fellow classmates. In a large corporation, not every face is a familiar one. Through the on-site MBA Program, Shantelle was not only able to broaden her knowledge base, she was able to better understand the experiences, backgrounds and inner workings of Allstate as a whole. By attending classes outside of Allstate on the LFGSM campuses, she was also able to gain insight from those outside of her company and industry as well.

Six months after graduating in 2012, Shantelle applied for an open position with Allstate. Although it was related to her previous experience, it was in a different part of the company and a promotion. The confidence she gained by earning her MBA drove her to seek the new position and helped her secure a senior leadership role.

“I believe that receiving my MBA through Allstate’s partnership with LFGSM demonstrated my ambition, as well as my commitment to learning and growing as a professional,” says Shantelle. “During my years in the MBA program, I spent a lot of time assessing my strengths, weaknesses, bettering my skills and gaining knowledge. It was scary to put myself out there for a new job but I felt confident. I was ready.”

Today, Shantelle proudly holds the position of Vice President of Claim Reserves within Allstate’s finance department. Her success in the MBA program, combined with the confidence she gained during her time at LFGSM, helped launch her career to the next level.


Barb Siegel Senior Director Marketing, LFGSMBarbara L. Siegel

Director of Marketing,
Lake Forest Graduate School of Management


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