When Kate Lanter looks back on 2020, three events will stand out: staying on schedule during a pandemic for her MBA, getting a work promotion thanks to her MBA studies, and having a baby.
So, it’s been a busy year for Lanter. She is one semester away from completing the two-year evening MBA program at the Leeds School of Business. She works full time. And in August she gave birth to her second son.
“It was always important for me to go back to school to get a higher degree,” she said. “I’m seeing things from a mature perspective and I’m able to put the puzzle pieces together. Much better than when I was an undergraduate studying business but with zero business experience.”
Lanter, who lives in Erie, chose CU Boulder for an MBA because the in-person program appealed to her.
When classes went remote last spring in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Lanter took the shift to online learning in stride. As for her pregnancy while in school, she already had experience handling that.
Lanter’s first son was born 12 years ago when she was an undergraduate at Indiana University Bloomington studying business. She still was able to meet her goal of graduating in four years.
“I did not plan to have my children when I was smack in the middle of school,” she said. “It’s like the universe has a hell of a sense of humor.”
Since her work and classes went online, she has had to adjust her way of doing just about everything. But she’s keeping to her goal of graduating with her cohort in May 2021.
“That’s my driver,” she said. “I’ve built relationships with the people in the program. I really enjoy taking classes with them and doing groupwork and team projects. I joined with my cohort and I want to graduate with my cohort.”
Lanter has mixed feelings about remote coursework. She finds the inability to see her fellow students in person emotionally difficult.
“I feel like the times we got to talk to each other before class and during breaks—in the hallway, wherever—was more valuable than I thought,” Lanter said. “I’m an introverted person but I needed that time just to catch up and see people’s faces or to talk to a professor during office hours. Not being able to do that is hard. However, there have been some Zoom classes I’ve enjoyed. And there are other benefits, like not having to commute!”
On a positive note, Lanter sees remote work as a new way of working that may become permanent and which she regards as being long overdue.
“There have been small blessings to working and studying remotely,” she said. “In a Zoom class one evening, we got a 10-minute break. In that time, I made cookies and popped them in the oven during the break. When would I ever be able to do that during an in-person class or a meeting? I don’t think I can ever go back to sitting at a desk in an office all day.”
“It’s fascinating to be in a cohort with people who are also passionate about their research and who want to dig into how the business world is different now than it was 10 years ago, what technology is changing and how remote work is affecting business.”
Lanter works for Viega, an international manufacturer of plumbing and HVAC systems with headquarters in Broomfield.
With one more semester to go, she is already seeing the benefits of an MBA. After returning to work from maternity leave, she was promoted from product manager to market management, overseeing the strategic direction of the company.
“I always wanted to go back to school to improve my mind for my job,” she said. “I never really had an idea of being a CMO or a this or a that. But I have gotten a promotion as a result of being in this MBA program. I am very focused on helping guide my company strategically. I love taking the holistic view. With this degree, I feel like there’s going to be many more doors opening to me in the business world.”