Maintaining Continuity and Connectivity During a Crisis
An Interview with Program Director Nikkole Liesse
Crisis and calamity have a way of testing not just your resolve but also your ability to adapt quickly to changing circumstances. For EMBA faculty and Cohort 18 students, the coronavirus pandemic has become the ultimate test of their resilience, as they adapt to an online learning model that's replaced face-to-face interactions and classroom instruction with video lessons and WebEx conferencing.
The transition was sudden and certainly required an adjustment, explains EMBA Program Director Nikkole Liesse, but Cohort 18 is enduring thanks to the support system they've created since joining the program last year.
"Any experience, particularly a negative or challenging experience, brings people together," Liesse says. "What I've seen is the cohorts rally around each other.
"Everyone has each other's back, and they're going to be successful because they are a team."
Cohort 18 will be remembered as the first group of EMBA students to take on the challenges created by the coronavirus. So far, they're meeting those challenges head on.
Cohort 18's Ladies of Law
In recent weeks, Courtney Lee, Carli Sansone, and the rest of the students in Cohort 18 have taken on a challenge far greater than any faced by previous EMBA graduates. Yet they recognize that the transition from face-to-face to online learning is part of a larger balancing act, one they've grown accustomed to as members of the program, and as law professionals. For Lee and Sansone, the road to success requires a precise combination of time management, proactivity, and perseverance.
Career Goals and Academic Commitments
General Counsel, Nevada State Board of Pharmacy
Like many of her fellow cohort members in the Executive MBA program,
found out quickly that the curriculum wasn't as difficult as the commitment.
"My family is very important to me - my husband, my son, and two daughters; and I love golfing in my free time!" the Las Vegas-based attorney explains. "The biggest challenge is balancing work, family, and school obligations."
A Maryland native, Lee serves as General Counsel for the Nevada State Board of Pharmacy and boasts an admirable (and enviable) resume. After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Michigan and her Juris Doctor at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, she spent more than 15 years working with clients in state, federal district, and Nevada Supreme Court; representing homeowners' associations in enforcement matters, and representing clients in consumer matters as an attorney for the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada.
Still, Lee could not deny her love for lifelong learning, and in May 2019 she enrolled in the UNLV EMBA program, hoping to "fill the gaps in my skillset - accounting and finance, for example."
An Education That Cannot Be Taken Away
||Carli Sansone - Cohort 18
Carli Sansone Esq.
Attorney, Pecos Law Group
For many professionals, success has a snowball effect. Once good things start to happen, it doesn't stop. For
(Cohort 18), all it took was a little push.
"I was unsure about finishing school, but my mom encouraged me to keep at it, even if I took one or two classes at a time," the Las Vegas attorney recalls about her first college experience.
After taking the leap and starting junior college in her home state of California, Sansone transferred to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, earning her bachelor's degree in Psychology in 2011. That achievement put her on a success path, as she found work in the city's hospitality industry, met her husband, and eventually decided the time was right to attend law school.
Again, with her mother's and husband's encouragement, she applied and was accepted to Whittier Law School in Costa Mesa, California. The opportunity would force her to commute back and forth between Henderson and Orange County, but halfway through law school she transferred back to UNLV, where she completed her Juris Doctor at the William S. Boyd School of Law.
"Once I graduated, I accepted a clerkship position for a family court judge and passed the bar," she explains. "After I finished my clerkship, I was ready to practice law and I joined Pecos Law Group in 2016."
As she was already familiar with UNLV, it was an easy decision to return to the school for the Executive MBA program. There was just one little catch.
Cohort 18 is comprised of a diverse group of students from various academic, cultural, and geographic backgrounds. You can learn more about their past achievements and their future goals at the
Shawn McCoy, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Economics
EMBA 703 - Microeconomic Analysis for Business Decision Making
"UNLV students are very, very motivated," says Dr. Shawn McCoy. "I was a student here, and I understand that attitude, where students like to think on their own and solve problems in their own way."
For professor McCoy, problem solving is more than a skill, it's a passion. An Assistant Professor since 2016, he balances his time between teaching Microeconomics for Managers to Executive MBA students and studying two of the great challenges facing the western United States: housing supply and wildfires.
His passion for both is reflected in his tone - serious, curious, and learned.
"As an undergrad at UNLV I got an early start studying real estate markets," he recalls. "When I started my Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, a faculty member brought me in on a National Science Foundation grant that was geared toward how wildfires influence the economy and residential housing markets."
Although he didn't initially expect to be doing research on wildfires and natural disasters, Dr. McCoy started to develop an expertise on the subject. His economics and real estate background proved valuable when a position became available at UNLV - "It's a great opportunity to foster an environment whereby students can learn from me and each other," he says - and he couldn't resist the chance to continue the research he began at Pittsburgh.
"Wildfires and real estate seem like an odd mix, but there are a variety of economically relevant questions that pertain to both," he explains. "We document how big wildfires alter the market's perception of fire risk by studying residential home price changes.
Due to the on-going uncertainty that COVID-19 has created across our state, administration has decided that it is in the best interest of our students and faculty to move the Cohort 19 Executive MBA program start date from June 2020 to January 2021.
One key benefit of the UNLV EMBA lies in the cohort experience and peer-to-peer learning environment. This is our value proposition. The move to a spring start date will better position us to deliver on the educational promise we have made to accepted students and applicants.
Cohort 18 International Seminar Location Announced
Cohort 18's International Seminar were announced. They will be traveling to Budapest, Hungary and Zagreb, Croatia this November. EMBA alumni will be emailed additional information regarding pricing and registration deadlines around
late May to early June.
On The Move
||Practice Lead West - Infrastructure, Cloud and Containers
||Senior Financial Analyst
||Zappos Family of Companies
||Atherton Construction, LLC.
||RVP of Sales
||Senior Sales Manager - RIO Las Vegas
||Corporate Relocation, LLC
||Broker, Real Estate Agent
||Signature Real Estate Group
||Director of Parts Operations
||Murphy-Hoffman Company (MHC Kenworth)
EMBA Information Session Webinar
EMBA Information Session Webinar
Cohort 19 Welcome Lunch - Save the Date
|January 12, 2021
||Official invite soon to come.