Samantha Renfrow

Through Katz's joint-degree program, Samantha Renfrow obtained an MBA from the Katz Graduate School of Business and a master's degree in industrial engineering from Pitt's Swanson School of Engineering. As a student, she wanted to build upon her background in engineering by developing her skills in project management and supply chains. She came into the program with an engineering mindset, but over time she learned how to activate the business side of her brain. That meant thinking strategically and applying business concepts.

"In engineering, you often have a single-scope vision for solving a specific problem. On the business side, you have to consider how this problem will affect the business as a whole," says Renfrow, who graduated in 2012 and then obtained a position with Texas Instruments in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Renfrow credits her global supply chain course for providing an eye-opening lesson in experience-based learning. Her group performed extensive simulations and saw how their decisions, both large and small, impacted the bottom line.

"The extensive simulations showed me how your decisions affect your firm. In the real world, when you make a decision, there's some kind of dollar attached to it."