How a Fox MBA took four Comcast employees on different journeys.
In his famous “Acres of Diamonds” speech, Temple University Founder Russell H. Conwell said greatness can be found in our own backyard if we take the time to look and work for it. Fox alumnae Alexis Carroll, Kristi DeSimone, Karen McClendon and Kelly Walsh all took the time to invest in themselves, put in the work to earn a Fox MBA and are living their own versions of greatness in Temple’s backyard at Comcast.
They’re connected in many ways: a common degree, a shared alma mater and the same employer. But their journeys to success, careers and perspectives on the most valuable outcomes from their experiences at the Fox School are unique.
Alexis Carroll, MBA ’15
Senior Program Manager, People & Organizational Planning
Because of my Fox MBA, my mind was opened to new perspectives, relationships and career paths.
Carroll pursued an MBA to build her business acumen and become more of an informed leader and teammate in marketing. She joined the Fox Executive MBA during a time of transition in her career, having just left a position with the NBC Sports Regional Networks division of Comcast to join Celebrity Cruises as a marketing manager.
Carroll expected to continue on a marketing path after finishing her degree, but her Fox MBA changed her perspective. She pursued a completely different career interest in human capital management that led her back to Comcast.
“During my course in human capital management, I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, maybe I am interested in stepping outside of marketing and exploring topics in human resources,’ but I really didn’t want to take a step back in my career and start all over again,” says Carroll. “But the stars aligned: I was approached by a connection at Comcast with a job while working on my degree that started the career I have today in HR. I don’t know if I would’ve considered the opportunity as heavily as I did had I not gone through the Fox MBA program.”
Kristi DeSimone, MBA ’17
Director, Xfinity Retail Sales Communications
Because of my Fox MBA, I built a more diverse network, gained new knowledge and skills, and opened doors to new opportunities.
DeSimone had been working at Comcast for about 10 years in various positions supporting communications and sales when she felt the desire to expand her career possibilities. “I had a lot of Comcast experience, but I knew I needed outside business experience in order to add to my executive toolbox.”
She chose the Fox Online MBA program because she traveled often for work. She wanted to tailor her class schedule and coursework to her busy lifestyle. The program gave DeSimone the confidence to speak on topics she was once unfamiliar with, like accounting and finance. She also developed the skills to pivot and expand the reach of her career possibilities.
“After I finished my MBA, I came to work and went on a campaign in my organization. I wanted to make sure everybody knew I had this new education, my concentration and what I’m interested in,” says DeSimone. “I talked to our HR business partner about my career path based on my interests, education and experience, and I pursued a six-month gig as an HR business partner while maintaining my existing role in sales operations, training and communications.”
Karen McClendon, MBA ’93
Vice President, Human Resources
Because of my Fox MBA, I was able to quickly ascend to an executive role.
McClendon joined the Fox Part-time MBA program seeking career mobility as well as opportunities to grow and evolve as an introvert. “I’ll never forget the way one of my professors described my work ethic: Silent but deadly. I realized the way people perceive me is important and that I needed to use my voice in the business world in order to close any gaps between perception and reality.”
From her Fox MBA experience, McClendon learned the value of networking and building relationships. “I grew up on a 100-acre farm in Virginia and am a first-generation college student. None of my family could mentor me on corporate America. I was lucky a leader at Comcast recognized my potential, advised me on office etiquette and connected me to the right people,” says McClendon.
She sees her Fox experience and the network she built as instrumental in helping her achieve promotion to vice president of human resources at Comcast before turning 30 years old. “My Fox MBA gave me the right foundation to help me relate my business education to day-to-day operations of my organization and gave me a valuable perspective on growth.”
Today, McClendon still has her own mentors she looks up to and she herself mentors several people around the country. “Connections are extremely important, especially for women and people of color, if you want to learn and grow. I only have one view if I rely on what I see in the mirror, so I always ask those around me, ‘How am I doing?’”
Kelly Walsh, MBA ’16
Director, Cash & Accounts Receivable
Because of my Fox MBA, I’m more well-rounded, confident and determined to be great.
Walsh felt stagnant and unsure about the next steps of her accounting career at Comcast before she joined the Fox Online MBA program. She wanted to move past her insecurities and learn how to advocate for herself in the professional world. She expected an advanced degree would help boost her confidence, sharpen her business skills and open new doors for her. “What I didn’t expect was so many doors to open so rapidly. Since graduating with my Fox MBA, I’ve been promoted three times and I feel like nothing is unattainable. The sky’s the limit,” says Walsh.
Her weeklong on-campus residency experience sticks out as the turning point for her transformation. “I remember walking into a room full of doctors, lawyers and established executives in leadership positions and thinking, ‘Do I have what it takes to pursue this?’ I quickly turned that moment of self-doubt into motivation to excel and work harder and I went on to graduate in the top of my class with so much professional confidence,” says Walsh.
She harnessed that confidence to put herself out there for opportunities she never would have dreamed of considering, including the leadership position she’s in today. “I learned through the curriculum of the program and my peers that I didn’t have to check every box to go after a new and challenging position,” says Walsh. “My Fox MBA gave me the confidence to stretch myself and not limit my sense of possibility.”