5Qs: Marsha Kelliher, Walsh College


Marsha Kelliher is president and CEO of Walsh College, a non-profit business college located in Troy that offers graduate and undergraduate business programs. Appointed to the position in Nov. 2016, Kelliher brings education, legal, and business experience to her role as president. She recently spoke with DBusiness Daily News about her vision for the college and why more working professionals are going back to school.

1. DDN: What do you think is motivating non-business professionals to pursue graduate business degrees?

MK: One of the things we’ve learned is that many professionals from healthcare, graphic design, architecture, IT, and beyond have a gap in their business knowledge and that is holding them back from advancing in their career. From building budgets to managing staff, there’s a number of critical skills that many professionals need before they can fill a supervisory or a managerial role, which is why we’ve created the new Master of Arts and Business Degree. This is a program that’s been designed to deliver business knowledge for what we consider to be the next generation of professionals and entrepreneurs. Overall, for graduate business courses, we offer 11 courses beginning with a Foundations for Business Success course and then students take courses in subjects such as communication, managing people, project managing, budgeting, and business planning.

2. DDN: How can obtaining a graduate degree, specifically in business, change a person’s career?

MK: A graduate degree, I believe, is an excellent way to recharge someone’s skill set and drive a change in their career. Most of our students are business professionals in the early- to mid-portion of their career and they see a graduate degree as a critical stepping stone to achieving the higher level position that they’re dreaming of. At the same time, a business education is crucial for people who are interested in opening their own business or pursuing a new career path. There are so many opportunities today, and a graduate degree really provides people with the skills and knowledge to be successful, and we believe, convert their dreams into reality.

3. DDN:  Any advice for those considering a return to school?

MK: I always recommend that people do their homework to find out about the programs that are available and select the one that is the best fit for their background, experience, and career goals. For some people, a traditional MBA is going to be the right choice. For others, our new Master of Arts and Business Degree brings the right mix of business acumen and understanding for their goals. Working full-time and going to school at night can seem like it’s very daunting, but I actually went to law school at night and on weekends while I was working full-time, and to anybody who thinks they won’t be successful, I say, you will be if you really have the drive and the dream. I encourage people to pursue those dreams.

4. DDN: How can a graduate degree be helpful for career advancement, and to what extent is it often necessary?

MK: Number one is that as people go through their careers, often people with professional backgrounds, for example nurses or architects, have all of their education in developing that skill set and expertise in that one area, but if they want to proceed to the next level, such as being a supervisor or a manager, it’s that knowledge of business, budgeting, managing people, and strategic planning that they’re lacking. This new Master of Arts and Business Degree is designed to give them exactly that skill set so that they’ll be successful in a supervisory or managerial role.

5. DDN: Where do you see Walsh College going in the future?

MK: I consider myself to be very fortunate to be a part of the college and helping to shape the future. As you know, Walsh is built on a tremendous foundation of delivering high quality business education to students across the metro Detroit region. I see us succeeding along the path that we set forth and continuing to seek out a progressive program, such as the Master of Arts and Business Degree, which places the needs and goals of what we consider to be modern students first. Also, of course, we’ll stay true to our heritage of staying at the forefront of technology and innovative programming.