Quantic Student Spotlight: Amy Dalton

Quantic students are often initially attracted to the program for its flexibility and affordability, but there’s something deeper at play that draws people in — particularly those of a certain mindset. To truly be successful in the program one must be highly self-motivated, disciplined, and passionate about learning new skills. Amy Dalton, a Quantic Executive MBA student and Senior UX Designer at GE Aviation, has these traits in spades. Like many Quantic students and alumni, Amy’s resume credentials are impressive, yet they don’t convey the full scope of the accomplishments she’s had outside of her “standard” job description.

As a UX designer, Dalton has built her career in a male-dominated field and has placed an emphasis on attracting and empowering other women and girls to enter this line of work. Though she’s been met with obstacles in her own career, she has never stopped advocating for herself and others. From public speaking engagements, mentorship, charity work, and founding an award-winning program for GE Women, Dalton’s drive to improve her career prospects and those of others is something worth acknowledging. 

Dalton is from Toledo, Ohio and studied journalism at Ohio University. However, she was more interested in graphic design and after graduating, decided to pursue user experience (UX), eventually leading to her current position with GE. While her inevitable trajectory doesn’t directly apply to the degree she earned, Dalton said that her background in journalism has been incredibly valuable in her career because “communication and the ability to write well is such an important part of any job you have,” and it allows you to come up with ideas and communicate them clearly and succinctly.

This knack for communication is evident in her multiple public speaking engagements. Dalton was a guest speaker at the 2019 GE Women In Science & Engineering Symposium, the keynote speaker at Early Career Women Collective’s Co-Create Live 2019, and a guest speaker at New Orleans’ FrontEndParty. These experiences not only reaffirm Dalton’s ability to command the attention of a room, they are a testament to the value that her words and actions bring to others. In short — her words of wisdom are in high demand. 

Further proving her leadership abilities, Dalton was the recipient of the 2018 GE Women’s Network Empower and Inspire Award, which recognizes women across the 280,000 person company for outstanding work and engagement that supports the Women’s Network (WN). As a Co-Lead for the WN, Dalton is committed to supporting women in STEM fields. 

“I have a passion for bringing more women and girls into technology because it’s always been a struggle to achieve gender parity in the field,” said Dalton. “I’ve been in it my entire career and there are relatively few women in the field — and for those who are in it, there are a unique set of challenges we face everyday.”

Dalton said that getting more women into STEM fields starts early, “it’s about exposure at a young age to spark their interest in it.” This is why she helped start GE Girls Camp, a week-long free STEM camp for 12-14 year-old girls. During the camp, girls learn to code, are introduced to robotics, and can even learn about cybersecurity and other in-demand sectors of the industry. The importance of early involvement serves as a pathway for young women to envision a career that they may not have otherwise pursued. 

Dalton isn’t just working on opening doors for young minds, she also started a program aimed at empowering women in the GE Women’s Network called Bragging Rights. Dalton initially had the idea to start the program after meeting a few of the GE interns. Even though they were just out of high school, they had accomplished amazing things and few people in the company knew much about them. This experience mirrored another observation Dalton had had — too few women spoke up about their accomplishments in the workplace. This had implications for career progression too, as she learned that women are often less likely to seek acknowledgement for their work than men. In fact, men are four times more likely to ask for a raise than women. Bragging Rights became a forum to enable and encourage women to openly and proudly share their accomplishments and challenges in life and in their career. These stories have become powerful sources of validation for those sharing them and inspiration for others involved in the program. Bragging Rights, which started at Dalton’s hub in New Orleans, took off and is now available at nine locations and still expanding. Dalton describes the program as “inexpensive but so effective” in its ability to provide women with the opportunity to grow their confidence and learn about each other.

“I think a lot of times women feel isolated and don’t have the natural tendency to put themselves out there as much,” said Dalton. “If we as women band together and understand each other’s skill sets, then we can help each other get promoted and put each other out there. We’re more likely to give kudos and talk about the person sitting next to us, than talk about ourselves. We’re more likely to lift that person up than lift ourselves up.”

Dalton is a natural leader. Prior to working at GE, she spent six years working at Ochsner Health System, where she held a management position for three years. While in this role, Dalton received the highest “employee engagement” score, a figure determined by how her direct reports rated her as a manager. Dalton received a score 20 points higher than the next highest score.

The key to Dalton’s successful management style? A more personal approach. She wanted to learn about the people she managed as much as possible, identifying their strengths and weaknesses. “If you spend enough time getting to know people and listening, really listening, you’re going to understand them enough to guide them,” said Dalton. “I focus so much attention on helping them be better at their jobs.”

This ability to listen, empathize, and understand others is perhaps one reason why Dalton is such a talented UX designer.  “When you understand things from the user perspective and you put importance on that, that’s when your product is going to be successful,” said Dalton. “When I’ve had an awesome product owner, it’s because they put the person first and understood the value of UX.”

In her senior leadership role, Dalton emphasized the need for executives to have, at a minimum, a basic understanding of UX and design. In our digitally-driven world, having the ability to view and build online experiences from the perspective of the customer is essential. Being well-versed across disciplines is one reason Dalton decided to pursue an Executive MBA with Quantic School of Business and Technology. By adding business acumen to her technical expertise, Dalton is positioning herself to take on bigger roles and broaden her invaluable influence on her organization — and if past experiences are any indication, she’s more than ready to take on whatever is next.

A flexible course schedule is something that initially attracted Dalton to Quantic as it allows her to spend more time with her two children.

Two Quantic MBA Students Make the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List

Congratulations to two Smartly MBA students who have been honored in the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List.

Quantic (formerly known as Smartly Institute) is proud to announce that two of its MBA students have been honored in the 2018 Forbes 30 Under 30 List. The annual list by Forbes magazine recognizes young leaders who are making outstanding contributions to business and industry.

Kaitlyn Yang is being recognized in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Hollywood & Entertainment category. She is the founder of her own Los Angeles-based post-production studio, Alpha Studios, and has over 40 credits to her name, including the five-time Emmy award-winning Robot Chicken. Kaitlyn is a Quantic MBA 2016 graduate and also a graduate of University of Southern California’s Animation and Digital Arts Program. You can find Kaitlyn’s profile on Forbes here.

Mary Iafelice is being recognized in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs category. Mary is the co-founder of the Washington, DC-based humble ventures, which supports entrepreneurs from underserved communities, including veterans, women, and people of color. In the company’s first year, they’ve helped 25 startups raise over $4 million in funding and achieve nearly $1 million in revenue. Mary is a Quantic MBA 2017 candidate and also a graduate of College of the Holy Cross. You can find Mary’s profile on Forbes here.

“Having not just one but two Forbes 30 Under 30 winners in the first year of our MBA program is a testament to the quality of the Quantic community. Kaitlyn and Mary are two high impact entrepreneurs that we’re proud to support,” said Tom Adams, Quantic’s CEO. “We look forward to seeing them continue to grow their respective companies.”

Congrats to Kaitlyn and Mary, and may they have continued success with their companies!

Quantic MBA Student Spotlight: Adrian De Smul

In the last few weeks before Smartly graduates its pioneer MBA class, we wanted to feature some of our outstanding students. Current Smartly student Adrian De Smul, who works at McKinsey and graduated from Princeton, tells us about his decision to join Smartly and plans for the future in the interview below. Browse, connect, and hire candidates like Adrian on the Smartly Talent Network.

Tell us about yourself.
I did my undergrad at Princeton in Mechanical Engineering and did a year abroad at Oxford. I ended up doing a lot of Computer Science. Most of my summers, I found more CS oriented gigs and enjoyed that a lot more so ended up doing a summer internship at McKinsey Digital as a full-stack developer. I joined full-time after I graduated and have been in the digital unit every since. I started off doing some front-end development but ended up switching over to a group that helps clients build agile teams to deliver software more effectively. I’ve learned not only how to deliver software differently but also how to put clients at the center of everything that you do.

What inspired you to do the Smartly MBA?
I thought it was a good change to strengthen my broader range of business skills. Especially, when you look at things like A/B testing and optimization and seeing how to get more statistical rigor in some of these user tests.Being more comfortable reading a balance sheet is not something I have to do very often but it’s nice to have that tool in my toolkit.

What have you enjoyed about Smartly?
The fact that you can do it at your own pace, I love. The fact that it works on your phone – it works everywhere. Each of the lessons is just fun – they never really feel like a chore (with the exception of the Accounting ones, which I’m hiding from). It’s easy and online – that’s what keeps me coming back. I also like the bit of gamification – it’s all broken down into very manageable submodules. You can get through a lesson in a few minutes and feel like it’s just done. You don’t have to get through a huge assignment or anything like that.

How has the Smartly coursework affected your day-to-day?
Right now, I’m working on something related to digital culture. We have a bunch of survey results that came back, and I’m able to look at them with a more critical and statistical eye. we have data based by industry, segmented in all these different ways, and there’s interesting statistical work that you can do when you have that much data. I think being able to look for survey results in a little bit deeper way is something I found interesting. The Marketing courses have also been interesting in the sense that I haven’t really gotten to use it for work yet, but it’s something that is very applicable and is not totally intuitive. The way that you can structure pricing, especially around sales and different marketing opportunities, we kind of skirt around those topics in conversation, but it’s nice to have the vocabulary to be able to talk more authoritatively about the marketing side of things.

What industries most interest you?
Part of the reason I did the Smartly MBA is that I really love EdTech. I wanted to see how Smartly was changing EdTech. That’s definitely one area. I’ve done a lot of work with McKinsey in banking and finance, so I think there’s still some cool ways of getting involved in FinTech that would be a lot of fun and would leverage my skill set really well.

What makes you a great job candidate?
For me, the experience that I’ve had in the past. And the Smartly MBA is yet another different thing that I’ve gotten the opportunity to do. I’ve gotten to work on four continents with a huge variety of teams, clients, and industries. I’ve done work ranging from product ownership to agile coaching to DevOps engineering for an engineering transformation, so it’s been a variety of skill sets, but all-around digital application development and building a great digital team.

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