New Katz Director of MBA Programs Named

The University of Pittsburgh's Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business has named its director of MBA programs, Sandra Ries Douglas, a Michigan native who brings more than 20 years of management expertise from her time at global technology companies, including Hewlett-Packard and Electronic Data Systems.

In this role, Douglas is responsible for enhancing the overall student MBA experience and enabling student success. Creation of the MBA Director position was part of an administrative reorganization effort by the school and Douglas was selected following a national search that invited students to watch a recorded portion of the interviews and vote on the final candidates. 

"My primary goal as director is to ensure student satisfaction with the MBA program, and to accomplish that I am pursuing an integrated approach that works very closely with Tom Keller (MBA Admissions director), Melissa Shapiro (Career Management Center director), and Tim Robison (Assistant Dean of Programs)," Douglas says. "This is a good fit for my experience and my passion, which is to help people develop the knowledge and skills needed to achieve their goals and aspirations."

From 1992 to 2011, Douglas held a variety of management positions at Hewlett-Packard, HP Enterprise Services, and Electronic Data Systems, primarily based in the Detroit area. Most recently, Douglas was a global program manager for a strategic enterprise-level procurement transformation program at Hewlett Packard.  Prior to that position, she held a wide variety of roles in process management, business operations, transition delivery, strategic sales support, technical delivery, organizational management, and systems engineering. Her far-ranging job duties have included significant cross-functional and cross-cultural team leadership and deep experience in human resources and financial management issues.

Douglas also taught briefly as an adjunct professor in business management at Baker College in Michigan and as an instructor in English as a second language at Oakland University. Douglas earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a focus on management information systems, from Oakland University, and her Executive MBA from Michigan State University's The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management, with a focus on integrative management. She holds a master's certificate in teaching English as a second or foreign language from Oakland University. In addition, Douglas has been a certified Project Management Professional since 2003 and holds an ITIL Foundations certificate in IT Service Management.

A recurrent theme in Douglas's career is her passion for helping individuals and teams achieve their full potential, and, in doing so, add value to the organization. As director of MBA programs, Douglas has the opportunity to apply these skills in a business-oriented educational setting.

"I reflected on my strengths, what I enjoy doing, and my accomplishments to date in my career," Douglas says. "The recurring themes were leading, coaching, and mentoring people, and developing new leadership in an organization."

Douglas's interest in leadership development extends beyond the hours of 9 to 5. She is a member of the Menttium Corporation, an organization that provides mentoring support to women and underrepresented groups looking to break into executive positions. In the past, Douglas was a mentee; now she is providing one-on-one mentoring support.

In her free time, Douglas also serves on the Executive Committee of a national non-profit organization, applying her business expertise in a dynamic community of individuals and families affected by a rare genetic disorder.

Although Douglas is new to Katz and still in the process of formulating her specific strategic objectives, she says that the MBA program's emphasis on experience-based learning, globalism, and entrepreneurship are precisely the skills sought by organizations where she has been a manager and leader. 

"I want students to know that I'm passionate about their success. I'm excited to be in this role and am looking forward to getting to know students this fall," Douglas says.