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Leavey School of Business 2017 EMBA Cohort is Seasoned, Diverse, and Ready for a Challenge

Twenty one new executive MBA students joining the Leavey School of Business this fall bring more experience and diversity than the typical EMBA cohort across the nation.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 14, 2017—Nearly two dozen seasoned Silicon Valley professionals from a wide variety of industries will be spending the next year and a half in the executive MBA (EMBA) program at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business (LSB).

The class of 21 students is both more experienced and more diverse than the typical EMBA cohort across the nation. Their 18 years of average work experience compares with a national average of 14, and women comprise 57 percent of the class—versus a 29 percent national average.

These two statistics were decisive factors for many students who are making the investment in a Santa Clara EMBA.

"Diversity in gender and industry was very important to me" said newly admitted EMBA student Anupama Mokkapati, an executive director at a molecular diagnostics company. In part that's why she chose SCU over a competing program.

EMBA students Jennifer Adams, Anupama Mokkapati and Chrystine Villarreal.

EMBA students Jennifer Adams, Anupama Mokkapati and Chrystine Villarreal.

“I don’t see a lot of women in executive management roles; in most companies these positions are often male dominated,” said Mokkapati. “I know for a fact that a lot of women continue to do exemplary work in the background. I want to be an example for all women who work with me."

Some 23 percent of the students already hold graduate degrees and have attained the level of director, executive director, even president at their current companies. Many of the students are moving up in their careers or want to make themselves more marketable to a greater array of innovative companies that are the lifeblood of Silicon Valley innovation.

“We are proud to attract one of the most diverse, accomplished and experienced classes of EMBA students in the industry, “ said Toby McChesney, senior assistant dean of graduate business programs at LSB. “Our students know they will benefit from the diversity and wisdom of their peers, and the bonds that are forged in this intense and rewarding program.”

Student Chrystine Villarreal is taking on the role of president of a startup, after 15 years in a variety of roles in publishing, venture capital, and politics. She was drawn to SCU for its strong reputation, alumni network, and focus on ethical leadership -- something her startup wants to ingrain from the very beginning. “In my gut I believe you can build a successful company while still being very thoughtful,” she said. “I will get that at Santa Clara.”

The class will have the option of attending an international experience in a region of importance—this year, it will be China in October.

Jennifer Adams, a marketing director at Plantronics who is in the EMBA class, said she’s particularly excited about the international exposure of the Santa Clara EMBA.

“I moved into a global role three years ago, and it’s very interesting to go from a headquarters view to a more international view,” she said, adding that it’s important “to be able to understand how different economies and cultures work.”

The cohort spent August 3–5 in Pajaro Dunes in Santa Cruz County at an opening residency event, getting to know each other and going through a 360-degree leadership intensive with Barry Posner, Accolti Professor of Leadership and co-author of the award-winning and bestselling leadership book, The Leadership Challenge. They officially began their classes August 8.

To learn more about the EMBA program, visit

About the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University
Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, one of the most dynamic business environments in the world, the Leavey School of Business combines academic excellence in the 450-year Jesuit tradition, with an energetic, innovative spirit that typifies the region. For more information, see

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry, and theology; and law degrees and engineering doctoral degrees. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

Media Contact
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Communications | | 408-554-5121



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