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Earning a DePaul MBA at Your Workplace

Diane Whelan-Thomason received her undergraduate degree in pharmacy studies and has worked in client service for Walgreens for 19 years. When DePaul University’s Kellstadt Graduate School of Business partnered with Walgreens to offer an MBA to employees at the pharmacy chain’s Deerfield, Ill. headquarters, Whelan-Thomason jumped at the chance to enhance her knowledge and skills in business. In this Q&A, Whelan-Thomason tells us more about the benefits of enrolling in a DePaul corporate-based MBA program.

What do you do at Walgreens?

I lead a team of client services professionals who provide operational solutions to support our clients, including payers such as employers, health plans and pharmacy benefit managers.

What attracted you to DePaul’s program?

First and foremost, DePaul’s reputation attracted me to this program.  The partnership between DePaul and Walgreens was also a component that was intriguing to me since Walgreens contributed to the development of the curriculum for this program.

Describe your commute to class.  Is it beneficial to attend a program at your workplace?

The distance from my office to the classroom is about three miles and is about a 10 minute drive.  Driving home after class is much faster than my normal commute since rush hour has passed….This program could not be more convenient from a location perspective. 

What are the benefits of studying with a cohort of coworkers?

There are many benefits of being part of a cohort of coworkers.  I have had the opportunity to meet some truly outstanding individuals within Walgreens who I may have never worked with.  My network has expanded significantly.  There have been instances where I needed support for a work project, and I knew a contact from my cohort who could point me in the right direction.  I have learned more about our company and different areas of our business that I have not had experience with.  While we bring different education and experience to the cohort, we all have Walgreens in common.

How would you describe the quality of the faculty?

The faculty have been truly outstanding.  The professors seem very excited to be part of this program at Walgreens.  Overall, I have noticed that our professors have really taken an interest in the members of our cohort.  They want us to succeed both in and out of the classroom.  They have helped me to feel part of the DePaul family.

In what ways have you been able to apply what you learn in class to your job?

There have been many items that I have learned in class that I can apply directly to my role at Walgreens.  In general terms, I have applied different strategies for problem solving and relationship building to my work.  Also, as I have built my knowledge and skills, my confidence has increased which has improved my leadership ability.

Obtaining an MBA will provide more career opportunities to me as I have increased my ability to think and act strategically.

To find out more about DePaul corporate education opportunities, contact DePaul’s Corporate and Employer Outreach (CEO) initiative at (312) 362-6911 or