Yvette Simpson earned her Executive MBA at Xavier in 2014. She's been a member of Cincinnati City Council since 2013 and is now in her second term. In August, she announced she's running for mayor of Cincinnati in the 2017 election.
Simpson grew up in public housing and was the first in her family to go to college. She also earned a law degree and is now in practice at a local law firm. With her education, and now her MBA from Xavier, she says she's "excited to use all my skills to really take Cincinnati to where I think we always could be."
We talked to Simpson about how her Xavier MBA benefits her position as a public servant in Cincinnati.
Why were you interested in pursuing an MBA?
I had been thinking of doing an MBA several years before, but as a city leader, it was important to get an MBA because we, as the city, manage more than a million-dollar budget, manage people and manage businesses. It was important so that I could do my job better, especially the budgeting and operations side.
Why did you choose Xavier?
Being a Cincinnati girl, it was important that I go to a local school. Xavier is a great one, with an excellent reputation. It's highly regarded.
What did you enjoy most about the program?
It was an executive program, but it felt like a regular program in that I really got the nuts and bolts. It was somewhat harder for me because I didn't have a business degree. I was learning all of it for the first time. There were a lot of late nights. I had to get books to explain the books. I love that it wasn't a lightweight program, though. I also loved that it was a cohort. The people in my classes were highly regarded in their fields, and I got to get to know them.
What sets Xavier's MBA program apart?
When I think about having a curriculum and program that not only teaches you the "how to," but the "how to" in the context of where you are, I can't think of a better program. It wasn't just spreadsheets. It really helped me realize concepts as they related to my business, the City of Cincinnati. The program helped me see "here's how to translate business concepts to things like providing water to an entire city, managing public services, etc." I was really fortunate to be able to have that. This better understanding of business makes me better at my job.
Would you recommend the program to others?
If you want to learn about the intricate things you need to know in a business job to better understand the people you work for or the customer, totally do it! It was great money spent. I feel so much more knowledgeable as a member of City Council. And I know I could still call any professor if I had questions.
Feature image: Yvette Simpson, center, with a group of young Cincinnati professionals.