Skip to content

Celebrating Women in the MBA

October 21, 2020

Since 1938, companies and organizations have celebrated National Business Women’s Week during the third full week of October. In recognition of the many women making positive contributions to the study of business practices, the MBA program at St. John Fisher College spotlights three women currently pursuing advanced degrees.

Meet Jada Kims ’20, Paige Wickham, and Melissa Kuberka, who each bring different perspectives and experiences to the program while showcasing the leadership skills required to be change agents in their fields.

Jada Kims

A May 2020 graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from St. John Fisher College, Jada Kims is currently enrolled in the MBA accounting program.

Kims was selected for the Start Diversity Internship at PwC as a rising senior, and as an MBA student, she landed another position with PwC as an advanced assurance intern. Due to COVID-19 regulations, her internship was converted to a virtual program. While Kims would have preferred to spend time in the office, she was appreciative of the culture that PwC extended through their virtual environment. She was able to network with colleagues and engage in digital learning opportunities, including team-based workshops, webcasts, and webinars, to ensure a smooth transition when she begins as a full-time associate after she completes her MBA. Kims said she enjoyed the human-centered design approach focused on data-driven storytelling to illustrate the best opportunities to design products and services.

“My internship this past summer was virtual due to the pandemic. However, it taught me how important it was to be able to adapt to uncertain times. I learned that instead of doing things the way that might seem the most common, to think of new ideas to tackle problems because you never know what life will throw at you,” Kims said. “In the MBA program, there are group projects for most of my courses, so when working with other people, I try to brainstorm new ideas of completing tasks instead of reverting to the norm and oftentimes, the results come out even better than expected.”

Kims’ long-term career goals include growing and succeeding in the field of accounting while making a difference in the business world for minorities.

“Being a woman and also a person of color, it can be very intimidating going into a field where there might not be too many people that look like me,” she explained. “I’ve had doubts about if I could really compete and succeed in the business world, and that’s why I chose a firm that I know I can be comfortable in my own skin.”

Kims noted that PwC has a big focus on diversity and inclusion and has been working on initiatives to attract more people of color in accounting and the firm, and she is eager to be a part of it.

“Currently, I am taking Leadership Development with Dr. Jason Berman and I plan on using his knowledge of being an effective leader in the business world in order to create change for people of color like me,” she said.

Paige Wickham

Paige Wickham is a 2014 graduate of Cornell University’s Agriculture and Life Sciences program. She is currently pursuing an MBA with a concentration in general management.

For the past two years, Wickham has worked at the Constellation Brands headquarters in Victor, New York. Her role consists of data analytics and supply chain optimization, two very sought after fields in today’s heavily information technology-driven times. Wickham’s strong communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills made her a valued asset to Constellation Brand’s culture.

Prior to her work at Constellation Brands, she was an assistant buyer for Wal-Mart, Inc. and Sam’s Club in Arkansas; and a buyer for Trader Joe’s in Massachusetts. Her roots in business stem from experience watching her family run one of Rochester’s favorite fall attractions, Wickham Farms, where she helped manage the corn maze with her brothers. She said this helped foster her interest in agriculture and “how food makes it from field to fork.”

Since the pandemic, Wickham has emphasized that while her role hasn’t been altered, the overall team dynamic has changed due to everyone working remotely. This has been the most significant adjustment for Wickham, though she has utilized her strong communication skills to maintain productive working relationships. These changes have taught her to be flexible with changing needs, which has furthered her adaptability as an individual. She is constantly running effective remote meetings and continues to make a positive impact through her daily contributions. Adapting to a new learning process has been rewarding for Wickham as well, and she is very excited about getting to meet some other students in person when the time comes to do so.

“On my journey in building a holistic understanding of the food system starting on the farm, moving into retail, and now finally in beverage manufacturing, I have discovered a passion for business, specifically in supply chain optimization,” she said. “I enjoy using data to make decisions and building out detailed models, but I am ready to grow my soft skills to ultimately move into a management role. I plan to use my MBA to move forward in fulfilling my life mission of improving the global food and beverage network.”

Melissa Kuberka

Originally from Orchard Park, New York, Melissa Kuberka joined the St. John Fisher College Athletics Department in 2017 as the head coach of the women’s basketball team.

In 2013, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from SUNY Geneseo and has a master’s in clinical psychology from the University at Buffalo. Kuberka began the MBA program in summer 2020 while working from home. She felt that the pandemic would likely change the landscape of college athletics and wanted to use the time to become a more well-rounded leader.

Kuberka said she’s enjoyed her MBA experience, specifically learning from and getting to know fellow students and Fisher administration, who all come from different walks of life. She said she highly values learning from others in the program and making meaningful connections.

The online aspect of the MBA program has been very fitting for Melissa, as she has been able to participate in the program seamlessly while still balancing her job as a head coach. During the pandemic, Kuberka communicated with her team and recruits, planned for training sessions, and collaborated with her assistant coach. She misses having her players stop by her office for a quick hello, and said that relationship building is more important now than ever before. She mentions that she has focused on placing extra effort in this area due to virtual communication.

Kuberka has drawn on her experiences in the MBA program as she speaks with recruits, sharing firsthand the pride Fisher’s administration takes in developing students. She has been able to apply her learning from management and leadership classes directly to her coaching style and program.

“Basketball has been a tool I use to help our players grow as leaders, communicators, and team members. I am competitive and enjoy the strategy of being a coach, but the interactions with my players, assistant coaches, and others are what motivate me to produce my best,” she said. “I am pursuing the MBA program to further develop my leadership skills, feed my competitive drive, and have a positive impact on the people around me.”