Caron Sinnenberg, GB’14, a Richmond native, received a B.S. in Apparel Product Development and Merchandising Management from Virginia Tech. She returned to the Richmond area after graduation.
Sinnenberg’s experience in retail introduced her to the operations side of business, in particular, supply chain. After a few years managing a small fashion retailer, she decided to further her education and pursue an MBA to learn more about management and operations.
During her search for an MBA program, she was drawn to the international business focus that differentiated Richmond from other schools. “The International Residency was a huge selling point for me and, ultimately, was my favorite experience while attending business school,” Sinnenberg expressed. She traveled to Riga, Latvia to work on a project with a local tourism bureau. This experience seemed to foreshadow her new venture with the Peace Corps.
As her Capstone Project approached, she met with Dr. Richard Coughlan, former director of The Richmond MBA. Coughlan noticed that her interests highlighted a passion for community service and suggested she complete her Capstone Project with a non-profit organization. Debbie Fisher, associate director of The Richmond MBA, contacted her immediately with a match. The non-profit Sinnenberg worked with was Ten Thousand Villages, which sells fair-trade crafts created by disadvantaged artisans in 38 countries.
This opportunity stirred the dream of community service work that she had previously put aside. “I was reading the stories about artisans that Ten Thousand Villages supports, and I thought to myself, I want to work with these people to help grow their business,” she explained.
Throughout her time in the program, Sinnenberg had the opportunity to work in the non-profit sector as a program manager in the division of enrollment management and student affairs at Virginia Union University. Upon graduation, she began working for Best Bully Sticks as the logistics, supply chain and private label coordinator. “Best Bully Sticks is an incredible place to work for someone who is hungry to learn and understand business operations,” says Sinnenberg.
With an MBA degree, business operations experience and the direction of The Richmond MBA faculty and staff, she is ready to achieve her goal. In May 2016, Sinnenberg departs for Peru as a community economic development volunteer with the Peace Corps.
Her job description has three main focuses: small business development, identifying economic opportunities in the community and money management through the creation of community banks. “My goals could not be accomplished without the finance, marketing, economics, strategy, organizational behavior and operations classes that I took throughout The Richmond MBA. Richmond does a great job teaching graduate students problem solving skills through case studies, so I feel well prepared to go into businesses and help identify their needs and ways that I can help,” Sinnenberg says.
From managing a small fashion retailer to finding her true career direction during her time in graduate school, Sinnenberg proves the versatility of The Richmond MBA. “The Richmond MBA has given me confidence in many areas of business, both socially and educationally,” she expressed. “Socially, Richmond gave me opportunities to network and get to know a diverse range of business professionals domestically and internationally. This exposed me to unique perspectives on business that I have been able to take directly from the classroom to work the next day. Educationally, the program gave me the confidence in the new skill set I was equipped with through the rigorous course requirements”.
Armed with her degree, Caron Sinnenberg is prepared to create a lasting impression on the people and businesses of Peru.
If interested in more information about the Peace Corps or about Caron’s experience in Peru, feel free to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow her adventure on her blog: https://perusingblog.wordpress.com.