Peter Corsa, Class of '04
Vice President, KSL Resorts
The position of vice president at luxury hotel operator KSL Resorts is just the latest achievement in the career of Peter Corsa Executive MBA '04, and he credits Saint Mary's with helping him succeed.
Before entering the Executive MBA program Peter had held positions at Old Navy and Gap Inc. but wanted to gain the tools to be able to operate at a higher level. His years of involvement in business management and the experience of being surrounded by a cohort of professionals in the Executive MBA program provided the sturdy foundation on which Corsa was able to develop his skills.
“I certainly wouldn’t have gotten as much out of it if I had just gone straight out of college and gotten my MBA without any real life experience. The years that my classmates and I had under our belts really helped make the program that much more valuable,” Corsa says. “You form a special bond with your cohort; the majority of us are working professionals so you end up learning from your classmates as much as you do from your professors.”
While admitting that it was a challenge to balance work and school, along with moving, changing jobs, and having his third child-all within the span of eighteen months, Corsa is convinced it was all worthwhile. "It really makes you live in the moment, because your time is precious. It teaches you how to be efficient in managing your time," he says.
Part of the benefit of the Saint Mary's Executive MBA program for Corsa was being able to apply what he learned in school directly to his job.
“It was great having the chance to work on something that was actually related to my work. Choosing my strategic capstone project really helped me work on something that had a lot of elements related to the company I was at, and after I was done I presented it back as a work project,” he says.
Corsa had always worked on the operations side of business, but in his next position after completing the MBA he ended up taking over an entire retail division. "What I learned at Saint Mary's helped me take a broader base job where I had responsibility for the retail division instead of just the operating side. It gave me confidence to know that when I went into a finance meeting I'd have a better understanding of what's going on," Corsa says. It also helped him to be able to do such things as dissect financials or talk about strategies.
Though he moved to a smaller company, Corsa was challenged with new and greater responsibilities. He says that the program, "is one of those pieces, aside from experience, that gives you that much more confidence and knowledge, and the belief that you can do it."