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Coaching Tomorrow's Leaders Today

For MBA students looking forward to potential career prospects, personal and professional advice from experts who have spent years working in the business world can grant confidence and help make the decision-making process easier. But is difficult to come by. That is why the University of St. Thomas Center for Business Ethics launched the CBE Emerging Leader Coaching Scholarship Program in 2012.

Select Master of Business Administration students have the opportunity to receive one-on-one career and leadership development coaching sessions from Dr. Annete Spychalski, business coach and consultant, for the academic year.

Matthew Bain, Daniela Cooz, Carmen Gonzalez, Natalia Regan and Karmen Rouhana were selected as the recipients of this year’s scholarship. The students engage in one-on-one coaching with Dr. Spychalski whose individual attention to each student results in helping them develop a stronger skill set. By offering an objective environment and a structured focus tailored to their goals, the coaching process gives them a specific plan of action and skill-building strategies.

“The intention is to offer a resource that can be tailored to students’ unique situation in a way that allows them to make more rapid progress toward their professional goals and aspirations,” Spychalski said. “The focus is on using a structured method to bridge scholastic experience with professional achievements that are satisfying and meaningful over the long term.”

Dr. Michelle Simms, professor of management, seeks ways to invest in the future by developing today’s student leaders. The coaching scholarship presents a unique opportunity to recognize and giveback to those students with proven commitment to academic excellence and leadership in our MBA Program.

“I am truly fortunate to have been a student of Dr. Simms in our Business Ethics class this past spring,” Bain said. “Not only was her class spectacular, but this was also when she told me about the coaching opportunity. I am honored to be a part of such a prestigious program, and I owe all my thanks to Dr. Simms. She is a professor that sincerely cares about her students and the institution of University of St. Thomas.”

Meet the scholarship winners:

Matthew Bain, who has been working on the natural gas trade floor at Occidental Petroleum for five and a half years, is working on an MBA with a concentration in finance. Bain has been meeting with Dr. Spychalski to determine how his skill-set and personality type can be used to succeed personally and professionally.

“This coaching experience has already given me insight on my professional and personal attributes that I wasn’t even aware of,” Bain said. “Dr. Spychalski has given me the knowledge and tools to improve up on my skills that are areas for development and capitalize on opportunities where my skill-set is already established. These tools will be valuable throughout my entire career, not just at the moment, so I look forward to continuing this education in the months to come.”

Daniela Cooz loves numbers and finance. After working at Memorial Hermann, Cooz is now a full-time student planning to use her MBA to become a purchasing agent or financial analyst. Cooz, who is the graduate assistant for the Center of Business Ethics, has taken the coaching scholarship as an opportunity to learn about herself.

“Dr. Spychalski encourages you to do a lot of research and go farther,” Cooz said. “She pushes you because she believes in what you have to offer. Some of her suggestions have caused me to think about options and career paths I had not considered in the past.”

Carmen Gonzalez is pursuing an MBA with a concentration in Marketing in addition to degrees in studio arts and communications. A full-time student, Gonzalez also works full-time at UST as an academic advisor. Gonzalez is working towards a career in marketing as a creative director.

“Dr. Spychalski puts into perspective what is important for you, what is not important and teaches you how to say no because it is very easy to overwhelm yourself with different projects,” Gonzalez said. “When considering a future in industry, she advises that I continue the things that are important to me and let go of the other things.”

Natalia Regan moved to the United States before beginning her MBA with a general business concentration. As a student, Bregin secured an internship at Morgan Stanley. Having graduated in 2013, she now works as a business development manager for Integrated Consulting. Regan’s passion lies in cultural diversity, specifically in understanding cultural differences in management style.

“The coaching opportunity was valuable because I had never worked in the United States before,” Regan said. “It helped me transition smoothly into a different culture and work style because it is very different from European work and leadership styles.”

Karmen Rouhana is already following her career path; she works in asset management for JPMorgan Chase. With a concentration in international business, Rouhana will use her MBA to advance her career in the asset management business.

“All of the tests I took affirmed what I was pursuing,” Rouhana said. “Coaching is not only for someone looking for an opportunity, but for someone looking to develop a career that they are in. I was able to learn a lot about myself and the direction that I will be taking in my career.”

All MBA/MSA students interested in learning more about the Emerging Leader Coaching Scholarship Program can contact Dr. Michelle Simms at or call 713-942-5918.

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