Ethical Business Leadership
Majoring in business can take you anywhere. For Cassie Sarno ’19, MBA ’20, it led her to intern for a county jail, digitize medical records at a major hospital, and even earn her bachelor’s degree and MBA at the same time. Fully embracing the liberal arts at Elms helped her connect all the dots.
“It’s so beneficial to go to a business program at a liberal arts school,” she said. “Rather than just learning the nuts and bolts of finance, or how to build a budget, you also get more of those soft skills. There’s an emphasis on writing.”
In addition to being a Dorothy Day leader and orientation leader, Cassie gets involved with Junior Achievement, an organization that teaches young adults leadership skills. “I taught an economics enrichment class at Duggan Academy,” Cassie said. “Junior Achievement does a lot of good for the community.”
A double major in marketing and healthcare management, Cassie appreciates the central role that ethics plays in her classes at Elms. Discussing ethical principles is vital, she said, because it helps students link business principles with responsible leadership.
“Leadership is an important value,” she said. “Not to be the person who has all the say, but hopefully to guide people to do the right thing, in the right way.”
Growing up in Springfield, MA, Cassie was drawn to healthcare after participating in BSEP, an educational program for high school students sponsored by Baystate Medical Center. At Elms, she took her passion for healthcare administration one step further, enrolling in the accelerated BA/MBA program. Taking graduate classes while still an undergraduate student gives her the chance to dig deeper into business strategy, logistics, and operations, she said.
“The faculty are so willing to work with you, which is the best,” she said. “Many of them have been guest speakers in my undergrad classes. It’s really nice to have that familiarity.”
Linking Public Health and Social Justice
After she graduates, Cassie wants to apply her skills in healthcare to a career in public health, specifically working with incarcerated populations.
“Combating opioid abuse is what I’m really passionate about,” she said. “I think it’s important to help the incarcerated. That’s the community that I would like to work with in the future.”
The Soup and Substance series at Elms gives students an opportunity to present their ideas on faith and spirituality to the campus community. As a sophomore, Cassie discussed the impact that Just Mercy, a book on mass incarceration in the U.S., had on her. “Having the opportunity to speak about this book allowed me to link a topic I am passionate about with public speaking, something I enjoy working on,” she said.
The summer of her junior year, Cassie completed an internship in the medical department of the Main Institution, a medium-security correctional facility in Ludlow, MA. Shadowing the administrative staff and assisting with recordkeeping gave her a unique perspective on healthcare as it unfolds outside of the hospital, she said. “It was extremely-hands on, which I loved,” she added.
Working in this type of setting — where record keeping is still done manually, with paper files — was a stark contrast to working in the medical department at Baystate, which uses electronic medical records (EMRs).
“We’re the ones scanning forms, indexing them, doing the barcodes, making sure all of the information is correct,” Cassie said. “There’s so much behind the scenes that people don’t know about.”
While Cassie’s job and internship experiences gave her insight into different healthcare leadership career paths, her MBA classes shed light on the next piece of the puzzle — finding a job after graduation. Thankfully, the business faculty at Elms go out of their way to help students make connections, she said.
“All of the professors here, or anyone who has a connection with the Elms, really, can help you with networking or finding jobs,” she said. “Elms truly is a welcoming environment that fosters community involvement and growth for each of its students. There is no other place I would rather complete my education.”