8 Questions for an Organization Development Student
Master of Science in Organization Development Degree Program Insights
Jennifer Bellenger, MSOD ‘17 is in her second semester and already using her classroom findings in real world settings. Get her take on what the USF Master of Science in Organization Development degree program has to offer.
- What led you to consider a Master of Science in Organization Development (MSOD) degree? I was originally drawn to this field because I wanted to make a difference in people's lives. Part of my interest in pursuing my MSOD is because I believe OD professionals have the ability to positively impact organizations and individuals. While I haven't always known what job I wanted to have, I have always enjoyed working with people and aimed to make a difference in their lives.
- Why did you decide to get your degree at USF School of Management? I decided to pursue my MSOD at USF as a way to further develop my skills in leadership and management of organizational effectiveness. The Jesuit mission of advancing academic excellence through critical thinking, social responsibility and personal development for the betterment of humankind resonates with me--because I would like to become a catalyst for positive change in my work and life.
- What were you doing professionally before entering the program? I’ve spent the past eight years working in a variety of roles at UC Berkeley, from recruiting to business systems analysis to my current role focusing on technology change initiatives. As the Change & Engagement Lead for our Collaboration Services team, my work involves communicating and interacting with stakeholders and synthesizing complex information for a largely non-technical audience.
- Have you been able to relate what you’re learning in the MSOD program to your job at Cal? I’m only in my second semester, and this program has already been so valuable to me. Each course assignment, all the class readings, and every class discussion we have is immediately applicable to my work.
- Have there been any exciting assignments or projects you have worked on so far? One memorable example is the Communication Conundrum activity from our Understanding Behavior in Organizations class with Dr. Keith Hunter. The activity was really illuminating; it showed how easily communication breakdowns can occur within organizations, depending on structure and dynamics. The day after we did the exercise in class I shared what I had learned with my boss. We diagrammed on the white-board, lamenting over failed projects we had witnessed--but hopeful we could make a difference with future implementations by ensuring project team members and sponsors participated in this exercise.
- What’s coming up in the MSOD program that you are looking forward to? I am super excited about our Individual and Team Interventions class, because it is our first consulting project as a cohort. During the project we’ll get to observe an organization and provide feedback and recommendations. This type of experiential learning is part of what drew me to the program, and I could not think of a better group of individuals to learn with.
- What has been the biggest takeaway from the program so far? The MSOD program encourages us to approach organizational challenges in a strategic and thoughtful way and to support effective decision making among leaders. I appreciate having a network of talented, supportive, intelligent professionals outside of my 9-5 job. I am ever impressed by the caliber of the program, and the richness of conversations between the faculty and fellow students.
- When do you graduate, and what are your plans for afterwards? I'll graduate in May 2017. I am excited to see what comes next in my career. There is plenty of organizational change taking place where I work, so I am confident I will be able to apply what we are learning in our program. In the past I have tended to say "yes" to opportunities that come my way, and see where they take me. It's gotten me where I am today...but I have a feeling that my next move will be based on more intentional decisions. I just don't know what those are yet!