In her spare time, Jennifer Wolf serves as a Girl Scout troop co-leader and helps her husband with the restoration of a classic 1956 Ford F100.
Professionally, her accomplishments span a 20-year career marked with achievements in the fields of computer science and information technology.
While serving in the U.S. Navy, Wolf earned an associate degree in computer technologies. She then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science with an emphasis in computer information systems, attending night classes after her naval career. Jennifer later obtained a master’s degree in business administration, and in 2016 she earned her Master of Science in Management, Strategy and Leadership (MS MSL) degree through Michigan State University’s 100% online program.
“I chose to pursue this MS degree from MSU for two reasons,” Wolf said. “The first was that it was a nice complement to the MBA I already have. The second was for self-worth.”
Currently, Wolf, an IT senior manager, runs a portfolio of $30 million, as well as a small group of junior program managers for Lowe’s. During her career, she helped create a successful and profitable business in less than four years with no initial investment.
Through all of this, she still wanted to find ways to better herself and her career.
“In obtaining an MBA, I learned it helps to teach you the different aspects of business. Upon researching the MSL degree, it appeared I would receive more of the people component. The two combined together, I figured, would complement each other nicely,” Wolf said.
The MS MSL program teaches different styles of leadership, and that’s what Wolf says is her most valued learning so far.
“It changes how my employees respond to my leadership and has created more dedicated employees,” Wolf said.
She has already implemented elements of being a supportive leader with her teams, and uses the DISC model to communicate and interact with her teams, peers and leaders.
“This is a great tool,” Wolf said. “I have also shared the DISC model with my peers and my employees in hope to build their soft skills.”
The DISC model has taught her about herself as well – she learned she is a high “D” (dominant) person, which lines up to her top five strengths of achiever, activator, futuristic, competition and command, she said.
During the program, Wolf drove herself to succeed. She created a spreadsheet to help track classes, costs, GPA and details of each class. The spreadsheet was even set up to calculate the remaining points she needed to obtain a 4.0 average, and monitored her progress throughout the program.
“This helps to keep me looking forward,” Wolf said. “I also set up a reward system for myself in the beginning. I love shopping, so I set up a system where I was allowed to purchase an MSU apparel item if I obtained a 4.0 in a class.”
Wolf hopes to master the new skills and techniques she’s learned, and hopes they will help her climb to the next level in her career. Her advice for those considering enrolling in the program is to embrace the weekly quizzes, keep track of assignments and take a lot of notes.
“If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of leading people and understanding, creating, [or] implementing strategy, then this is a great degree,” Wolf said. “As long as you’re disciplined enough and you can manage your time enough, anybody can do this program.”