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Mar 3, 2014

Spotlight on iMBA Student Blake Wenger

“What I am learning in school coincides perfectly with what I do at work; I use it every day,” says Blake Wenger, a current Innovation MBA (iMBA) student at JMU.

Wenger earned his mechanical engineering degree from Virginia Tech and started working as an engineer at Howell Metal in New Market, Virginia before joining JMU’s iMBA cohort 5 in August of 2013.

After interning and landing a job at the global manufacturing corporation, Howell Metal, which was recently purchase by Mueller, Wenger soon became interested in the business side of the company. At work, he branched out into environmental supervising, managing safety programs, and handling financial reports.

Since Wenger had a new found interest in business, he decided that it would make sense to pursue an MBA. His boss at Howell Metal, Ashley Driver, graduated from the iMBA program at JMU in May 2013. Driver spoke highly of the program, and encouraged Wenger to consider it.

Now a student, Wenger appreciates the help and support of the faculty in the program as well as his fellow classmates, noting “The social networking is very good. I have met people with different backgrounds from different areas. This networking opens up a lot of possibilities for people, and helps us make valuable contacts. We also share real world experiences.”  In class, Wenger is studying the lean manufacturing and Six Sigma process which he follows daily at his job. He also uses class studies in operations and supply chain management to help refine his work’s production cycle times.

Wenger knows he made the right decision in getting his MBA and that it has helped him become a more marketable, flexible, and valuable employee. “I have been able to immediately use everything I’ve learned. Before, I had broad knowledge of a lot of areas, the MBA program has given me more focus and detail,” explains Wenger, “Now, instead of just knowing how to complete a capital expenditure report, I understand the background and why it’s important.”

As Wenger explains, he believed that he would be able to apply what he learned in class at his work, but didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. The Innovated MBA program at JMU focuses on leadership and Wenger adds, “I would recommend the program to others. You’re not just learning numbers; you’re learning overall management principles. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get into business management.”

Wenger is expected to graduate in May of 2015.



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