Hometown: Newtown, Conn.
Major: Master of Business Administration
WCSU Degree: M.B.A.
Activities: Vice president of the Graduate Student Union, student representative on the Graduate Council
Honors and Awards: 3.87 GPA
Armed with an associate degree in computer science and a bachelor of arts in interactive digital media from Lyndon State College in Lyndonville, Vt., Jeff Shpunt embarked on a career that would first lead him to founding a freelance Web development company right out of college and finally to work at WestConn as a Web content specialist. Like many recent college graduates – Shpunt got his B.A. in 2004 – he soon realized that his future might hold more opportunities if he furthered his education. So he enrolled in WestConn's Master of Business Administration program.
"As a Web professional, I want to be able to expand beyond just developing Web sites," Shpunt explains. "I feel it is important to understand how I can align an organization’s Web presence with their strategic goals. As well, I have future aspirations to position myself in a management or executive level position in the Web development field, and I felt that the M.B.A. would open up more opportunities."
Why a WestConn M.B.A.? "Well, I work here and it’s close to my hometown," Shpunt says. "More importantly, I am very familiar with the quality of education that you can receive at a Connecticut State University. I will be the third generation to graduate from a CSU school: my grandmother received her master’s in education here at WestConn and both my parents went to Southern."
Asked what he will remember most about his WestConn experience, Shpunt says, "I think some of my most memorable experiences in the M.B.A. program come from the relationships that I developed with my classmates. The program places a lot of emphasis on teamwork, and the teammates that I’ve had the pleasure of working with have been astounding. I was able to collaborate with a Ph.D. student, a regional sales manager for a large corporation, coworkers, etc. Working with such a wide variety of classmates really allows many different perspectives to be brought to the table, which in a sense is a microcosm of what one would face in the 'real world.'"
Shpunt says one of his proudest moments came in the form of publishing a case study in a well-respected case journal. "In one of my marketing classes, two classmates and I worked directly with Staples executives to develop and recommend a growth strategy for their operations in China," Shpunt explains. "Our professor was so impressed with the work that we did in the class, that she created a faculty-developed specialty course that allowed us to continue our work on the case study, with the goal of publishing the study in a case journal. As part of this course, we were able to attend a Society for Case Research conference in Kentucky. My team was the first group of M.B.A. students accepted to the conference in its 30-year history, quite an accomplishment. After almost 18 months of extremely hard work on the case study, we will finally be published in the upcoming Society for Case Research Annual Advances Case Journal. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be a published author, never mind included in such a prestigious and well-respected case journal.”
After graduation, Shpunt plans to "enjoy my first summer without classes in what seems like forever!" He says he's had a few colleagues recommend that he continue his studies and enroll in a Ph.D. program. "Before that happens," Shpunt says, "I need to take a breather and catch up on 'life' a little bit before I even consider a doctorial program."
Shpunt’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Make the most of the opportunities that WestConn provides you. I’ve always been a firm believer that you only get out of school what you put in to it. The more effort you put in to your studies now, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to locating a job. WestConn provides students with a wealth of resources that can allow anyone to truly succeed; it all boils down to if you actually capitalize on the resources at your finger tips. The time does go by really fast when you’re an undergraduate student, and remember these are some of the most exciting times of your life. As such, you should make the most of them, both academically and socially, in that order. Life is a lot more challenging when 'the real world' finally comes true. You need to be able to rely on the lessons you have learned throughout your years here at the university.”