Lauren Lundberg, a deputy project manager for Northrop Grumman, spends her days overseeing a $30-million-dollar program for the Defense & Space based firm. We spoke to Lundberg, a George Mason University School of Business MBA student on track to graduate in Spring 2022, and learned how her time at Mason pursuing an MBA helped put her on Northrop Grumman’s radar and prepared her for working in government contracting.
According to Lundberg, who worked in intelligence until November 2021, the MBA is the reason she was able to secure her current role. The combination of her prior experience in intelligence and her forthcoming MBA, flagged her in Northrop Grumman’s system, at which point representatives of the company reached out to her and offered her the position. “Without my MBA, I wouldn’t have this job,” Lundberg said.
In particular, Lundberg cites specific classes that have been very beneficial to her new job: “The concepts that I was learning in project management, including agile and work breakdown structure (WBS), are ones that I have been able to apply directly into my current role. This class has helped me to keep projects on time, on budget, and in scope. I can also diagnose issues quicker and fix them without bottlenecks or snowballing. Some of the tools, like MS Project and MS Access are what we use on a daily basis. I decided to take Advanced Project Management this spring. So far this class has helped me to see Project Management from the Enterprise level.”
When asked if she had any advice for current students, or those considering an MBA, she had a few things to say. First, she advises applying to jobs even if you aren’t sure you have the right qualifications, and not to be afraid of making industry changes and non-lateral moves. “I’m a huge proponent of education,” she added, “and making yourself more competitive with new programs and certificates. Now is the time of the employee; employees have the power right now. Don’t wait!”
The connection between Mason’s MBA and government contracting is especially strong—including a reduced accelerated application pathway for the MBA programs specific to organizations represented on the Center for Government Contracting’s Advisory Board.
“The industry and research centers, like the Center for Government Contracting, housed at the School of Business have been instrumental in allowing us to stay connected to current market needs,” says Ioannis Bellos, director of the MBA program. According to Jerry McGinn, executive director of the Center for Government Contracting, “The strong connections between the Center for Government Contracting and industry make this MBA partnership a natural way to help grow the GovCon workforce of the future.”