Meet Aesha Browne, mother, wife, engineer & current EMBA student
Published: February 17, 2022 / Author: Amanda Jacobson
Aesha Browne has a pretty impressive resume. A thriving industrial engineer by degree, Aesha’s background includes 15 years at Whirlpool. She led teams of up to 500 employees in assembly operations and held strategic management positions within supply chain logistics, planning, and cost optimization/data analytics.
In January 2021, Aesha accepted a new role with Caterpillar, a Fortune 100 corporation and the world’s leading construction and mining equipment manufacturer, off-highway diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines, and diesel-electric locomotives. There she is a senior manager for global inbound supply chain design.
It looks like Aesha’s career path is pretty well laid out on the outside. So why did she decide to enroll in the Notre Dame Executive MBA program at this point in her life?
“Honestly, the real impetus was the COVID-19 pandemic,” Aesha says. When the COVID-19 pandemic took over, it was as though most of the world had just stopped. Some businesses were closing, and those that were still functioning had established new “work from home” protocols. Employees were working in spare rooms, basements, and living rooms. And while a lot of people struggled with the new “normal,” Aesha saw it as an opportune time to earn her Executive MBA from the University of Notre Dame.
“I started watching various webinars and signing up to get more information about programs in the Midwest,” Aesha says. In addition to Notre Dame, Browne considered Chicago Booth and Purdue – schools in the Midwest where she lives with her husband and two children, a five-year-old daughter, and an eight-year-old son.
“It was paramount for me to spend as little time away from home as possible,” Aesha says. “The fact the program meets once a month allows me to balance all of my responsibilities – as a mother, a wife, an engineer, and now, as a student.”
As a woman in what is typically considered a male-centric career, Aesha felt she needed to add to her business acumen to continue her career trajectory. “I’d always wanted a business degree with the hope of pivoting to a role that allowed me to own the business and financial portion of it, as well,” Aesha says. “I’ve accumulated a lot of technical skills; now I just need to grow my business knowledge to strengthen my opportunities to go on to become a general manager and vice president in the future.”
“Once I started thinking about going back to earn my EMBA, I was able to narrow down my choices pretty quickly. I decided to come to Notre Dame in a matter of a few months,” Aesha says. “For me, it was a perfect time,” she says. “The pandemic had just shut the world down, I wasn’t running my kids to gymnastics and swimming, and my job slowed down. So I decided to go back to school.”
This is a far cry from the more typical two- to three-year decision process many take before hitting the “apply” button on an EMBA program.
Aesha knew that Notre Dame was the right fit for her right away. “Everything I read and watched about the Mendoza College of Business spoke to its aspiration for excellence – to grow the good in business. And that’s exactly what I want to do.”
Other factors that went into her decision to pursue an ND EMBA?
“Having the ability to not just network with other professionals who are at the top of their fields has been so rewarding,” Aesha says. “We all work together and lift each other up.”
“The family atmosphere was a big draw for me,” Aesha adds. In addition to growing close with her teammates, Aesha describes her entire cohort as ‘family.’
“Given the years of experience required for the EMBA program, the students tend to be a little older and a little more established in their careers,” Aesha says. “And the majority of us are married with children or other family members to care for at home. Then there’s the aspect of going back to school as a working professional. We all can relate to each other on so many levels, and support each other on all of those levels. The connections I have with my classmates are ones I will carry with me for life.”