PCDE Student Stories | Sam Isaacman 

Earning degree @ Dixon University Center - Harrisburg

Sam's Highlights:

  • Just became a father in August. My son Simon Isaacman will be at graduation along with my loving wife Emily Isaacman.
  • While studying at Ship, I also earned two certifications: the CUES Certified Innovation Executive (CIE) and CUES Certified Credit Union Director (CCD). This included completing executive education courses at Stanford Graduate School of Business, MIT Sloan School of Management, and Rotman School of Management.
  • Has been a featured speaker for credit unions on how to innovate.

Where are you from?
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

What year are you graduating?
2017

What is your program/major?
Master in Business Administration (MBA) 

What are your future career goals?
My immediate goal is to lead a PSECU team in identifying cost saving and revenue generating initiatives. I hope to accelerate the creation of value for PSECU’s members by applying the data driven mindset and entrepreneurial spirit that has been instilled upon me via Ship’s MBA program. My 3 to 5-year goal is to either lead a PSECU department or become a CEO of a mid-sized credit union. My 20-year goal is to be the CEO of a large organization, and I hope to retire as a volunteer college professor. I plan to continue my education beyond the MBA and am considering a Doctorate of Business Administration, Juris Doctorate, or finishing my computer science degree.

Internship Experience:
I started my career several years ago as a PSECU Administration Intern.

a. What is/was your role and responsibilities?
I assisted the Chief Administration Officer with corporate governance research. 

b. How did you choose this internship?
I was hoping to work for a large financial institution that leveraged technology to match my finance and computer science background. I was lucky to find one in the Harrisburg, PA region.

c. What will you take away from this experience that you can apply to your future career?
I took away a great deal of experience and knowledge that helped me secure full-time employment with PSECU following my internship. Beyond the job-specific knowledge, I learned how important it was to work as a team. While in college it may be possible to do everything needed for a group project, it is generally impossible to everything for a corporate project without the help of others.

d. What have you learned throughout your Shippensburg University education that has been most helpful during your internship?
N/A Internship was before MBA.

How has Shippensburg University prepared you for your future?
Ship’s MBA program has provided me with the leadership skills needed to be successful in the business world. The group projects and presentations provided the opportunity to practice leadership techniques and my public speaking. In addition, the assignments increased my ability to analyze a lot of information in a short period of time. We live in a world seemingly full of unlimited information, Ship’s MBA program greatly improved my ability to sift through this information in pursuit of the truth.

Did you have previous experience, knowledge, or background in the content area of your chosen program? If no, what helped you chose your area of study through PCDE?
I had about five years of experience in the professional world, which helped me apply class assignments to real world experiences. I also had a B.S. B.A. Finance from Millersville University and four years as a computer science major at Shippensburg University. 

I chose PCDE because Shippensburg’s MBA offered the most value in terms of cost, location, and accreditation. It only takes 15 minutes for me to drive there from work and the cost was significantly lower than the competition. This in combination with Shippensburg’s AACSB International accreditation made the school stand out.

What surprised you in taking some of the courses?
I learned a lot about human behavior that surprised me. I was surprised by how much of this behavior is predictable.

Did you have any difficulty getting through your coursework once you were enrolled in your program?
I found the program required about 30 hours of work per week for two courses. While this was a lot of work, it was never an impossible amount of work. It was clear that the professors put a lot of thought into their syllabi to ensure it was not an impossible amount of work. There was also a big difference in the amount of work required for an A in comparison to the amount of work needed for an A-… in terms of about an extra 20 hours of work per week.

How do you plan to use your certificate, degree, or new knowledge and experience? Can you share a professional goal of yours?
I saved my assignments and refer to it often. The financial analyses, predictive analytics, regression models, and countless other techniques will all prove useful in my career as I analyze data to identify and capture value for PSECU’s membership. 

Any tips for future students?

  1. Take advantage of all your time. For example, listen to your books using Audible if you commute or spend time at the gym.
  2. If you find yourself with ‘writer’s block’ – just start writing, write as fast as you can, revise, and repeat.
  3. Don’t let perfection stand in the way of greatness.
  4. Leave your phone behind.

Any favorite courses, experiences, or faculty moments you’d like to share? 

Dr. Shelley Morrisette’s Entrepreneurship class was by far the best course in the program. Coming up with a business plan to achieve millions in profit within a few years was extremely challenging but also extremely rewarding. This course was one of those experiences that shapes your future direction.