My undergraduate degree developed my mind and stretched me in ways I could never have imagined,” said Greg Phillips, who studied classics at Marlboro and graduated in 1996. Ten years later, Greg received his master’s in IT management from Marlboro College Graduate School, making him one of a growing number of alumni of both the undergraduate and the graduate program. Despite the graduate school’s more modern trappings in the heart of Brattleboro, alumni who continue their education there find many important parallels.
“I knew that the program would be rigorous, based on my undergraduate experience,” said Greg. “As in the program on Potash Hill, the professors at the graduate school are teaching because they genuinely love to teach.”
Cheryl Eaton ’89 rediscovered Marlboro nearly two decades after her degree in philosophy and photography. In the midst of a successful career in marketing, she was wrestling with what her next step would be.
“The obvious thing to give me the boost I needed—new concepts, new experiences—was to get my MBA, but I had zero interest in doing so,” said Cheryl. “Then the Marlboro MBA in Managing for Sustainability started to bubble up in my consciousness, connecting the business experience I had gained with other interests and long-held values. I honestly thought that if any institution could do a good job at challenging business-as-usual, and really exploring new ideas around business, it would be Marlboro College.”
Though students at the graduate school are far-flung and participate primarily online, meeting only infrequently for residential “intensives,” there is a familiar sense of community and a deep respect for learners.
“I found the graduate school very flexible and selfdirected,” said Will Brooke-deBock ’87, Marlboro’s first dual graduate. Will received a Masters of Science in Internet Strategy Management in 1998, and now teaches online at Kaplan University. “While ‘practical,’ the program never lost focus of the big picture: the impact of technology on social structures, culture and, ultimately, on people.”
“An ideal student for the graduate school is one who was ideal for Marlboro as an undergrad as well—an independent learner,” said John Stiteler ’06, technical support coordinator at the college who just finished the MBA program this summer.
Chris Lindgren ’92 said, “I knew if the graduate school was anything like the undergraduate experience it would be a quality program: challenging, accessible, some component of individual design.” Since graduating with a bachelor’s in philosophy and American studies, Chris has become a small business owner and manager.
“The Marlboro MBA fit the bill perfectly,” said Chris. “Like the undergraduate program, one of the best things is meeting people with similar commitments but with diverse experience, from diverse backgrounds, and getting to know them and work with them. It’s the intimacy of program.”
“The community-building aspect of the program is very unique, positive and very intentional,” said Brian Schwartz ’00, who got a master’s in Buddhist studies at Naropa University before receiving his Marlboro MBA this summer.
While Marlboro’s undergraduate program remains firmly rooted in the liberal arts, the graduate school applies the very same learning philosophy to more concrete, “real world,” education.
“In both programs, the learning experience is co-created by the instructors and the learners,” said Cheryl Eaton. “Both programs treat learners with respect and get down to the conceptual level, so things can be really explored, looked at, challenged—there are no sacred cows. There is a rigor to both programs, and intellectual sloppiness is not accepted.”
While Marlboro students often find that their undergraduate experience makes them a better person, a better citizen of the world, many would agree with Cheryl when she says the graduate school has made her a better leader, employer and employee. “It has changed how I show up in the realm of business.”