Alum feature: Meet Kate Poppel

Kate Poppel Professional Headshot

Nurturing a Sustainable Network

Kate Poppel places a high priority on sustainability. Early in her career, she worked in the hospitality industry. During her time managing different hotel brands under the Choice Hotels International umbrella, she implemented multiple new green programs, including leading one of the first locations to participate in the Clean the World program. 

When looking for a graduate degree program to take her career to the next level, Kate knew she wanted a curriculum based on the same values she holds. 

“I was specifically interested in The Portland MBA because the program aligned with the renewable initiatives I wanted to implement in the hospitality industry,” Kate says.

Making a Career Switch

Though her passion for sustainability did not change, Kate’s career focus did. Six months into The Portland MBA, she took on a role has a master scheduler and production planner for Lam Research, a manufacturer of semiconductor processing equipment. The coursework’s focus on strategic and creative thinking about sustainable solutions in all industries made the transition an easy one. 

“I gained a better understanding of making business decisions and became more confident in problem-solving,” she says. 

Inspired by learning new things and thinking positively, Kate has seen a huge impact on her career since starting The Portland MBA. She also says the network she created within the university community has proved to be an important source of support.

A Lifelong Network 

In her job at Lam Research, Kate works alongside a few members of her MBA cohort.

“I consider myself lucky because I get to work with such great people every day,” she says.

The knowledge they’ve gained in the program can be applied to several aspects of their roles, and Kate is confident they work well together as a result.

Kate says she and her fellow MBA students and alumni at Lam Research enjoy a mutual trust that comes from working closely during their educational journey.

“We tend to already be on the same page and are able to come up with solutions very efficiently,” she says.

To current students, Kate advises finding these same connections. Students pursue higher education for a variety of reasons, but everyone has something to offer and learn from their cohort. 

“Make sure to go to every networking event PSU has and spend time outside of class with your cohort,” she says. “You will make lifelong connections that remain constant no matter where your career takes you.” 

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