Tiffany Ciolek, EMBA ’16

Tiffany Ciolek, EMBA ’16.

Tiffany Ciolek lives in Buffalo but commutes to her job at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Coral Gables, Florida, where she serves as director of admissions. When she’s not flying from New York to Florida, she’s also a student in our Executive MBA program, a 17-month, weekend program designed for high-potential leaders.


Why did you decide to get your MBA?

There were a few different types of programs I had considered, but I chose to pursue an MBA because it provides me with the broadest set of business skills. I felt an MBA, coupled with my bachelor’s in public communications, would provide me with the education I need to excel in any profession.

Why the UB Executive MBA program?

I made a list of what I wanted from an MBA program and, as I searched, I started to think I wasn’t going to get everything on my wish list. Then I searched the UB EMBA program website and realized it had everything I was looking for: all the courses I wanted, it fit my schedule, had physical, in-person classes (not online), and classmates with similar levels of work experience.

What tips do you have for maintaining work/life/school balance?

We all have lives beyond work and school and it’s important to maintain that. For me, my situation is a bit unique—I live in Buffalo but commute to Miami for work. You have to recognize that while you are in this program, your priorities will need to shift, but it’s critical to keep time for yourself and your family as a priority. For me, I have basically substituted schoolwork for the time I would have spent watching television. Turns out it is a much better use of my time!

What have been able to take from the classroom and apply at work?

The information I learned in data modeling was instantly transferable to work and has added several new tools to my skill set, allowing me to be more efficient in my analysis. In addition, the content I learned in my marketing class aligned with a big project I was working on at the time. As a result, I ended up completely restructuring the recruitment model at our medical school, which I implemented with exciting results. I was able to present this information to our board of trustees this summer and received positive feedback.

Which parts of the program have made the biggest impact on you?

Professionally, the area that has impacted me the most was the emotional intelligence course. I feel this is a unique component of the program and is critical to the success of any professional, especially leaders.

Personally, the relationships I have built with my classmates have made a huge impact. I had the opportunity to attend an online MBA program that my tuition would be paid for, but I chose the UB EMBA program and am paying the tuition myself because I wanted to meet with my classmates in person, participate in group projects and benefit from the experience and knowledge of my classmates. That’s just not something I feel I could get from an online program.