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Pictured is MBA alumnus and Ph.D. student Michael Harding. Photo submitted by Harding.

Meet Michael Harding

Job Title & Employer
Director, Business Engagement, Carnegie Mellon University
Majors
MBA, Community Engagement-Ph.D.
Graduation
May 2014, December 2020
Hometown
Pittsburgh, Pa.
High School
Thomas Jefferson High School
Now Living In
Greentree, Pa.
Hobbies & Interests

Board president for Beverly’s Birthdays, vice president of the Alumni Executive Council at Washington & Jefferson College and community advisory board member for WQED, traveling, trying scotch and storytelling

"Mike has quickly been promoted because he has regularly performed at a level of performance just above his title. In his offers of help and support of others, Mike has shown that he is a leader. So, we need to increase his opportunities to lead! Mike’s educational achievements were key to having his resume rise to the top of a tall pile of others competing for the same position. His MBA gave me confidence that he had the fundamental of business management down. His Ph.D. pursuit was an indication that he values education. This is important when one is applying to a university for a job!"

J. Mark Nolan, associate vice president, strategic business partnerships, Carnegie Mellon University

"For me, it almost always comes down to the people. The Point Park faculty sharing their wealth of knowledge and expertise, while gently providing the guidance needed to sort out something brand new, has been one aspect that resonates. A second, and equally weighted reward, has been my cohort members in the Ph.D. program."

Michael Harding

What factors made you choose Point Park University to pursue an MBA and a Ph.D.?

Point Park University was well aligned to my career needs and goals during the time of my MBA for many reasons. Working at BNY Mellon Downtown, I could easily walk and access classes after work and on the weekends. Additionally, it was a great opportunity to engage with peers from all different industries in the classroom. 

Now, in pursuit of a Ph.D. in community engagement from Point Park, it draws down on my business background while intersecting my community focus. Being able to connect the dots to build new things across the region has been a highlight of my work to date at Carnegie Mellon, and through my volunteer involvement with Beverly’s Birthdays and Washington & Jefferson College. 

What role did your MBA degree play in your recent promotion?

It’s always hard to directly equate one degree to one promotion, but in my opinion investing in yourself to explore new challenges is never a bad thing to do. Pushing out of your comfort zone and learning how to effectively communicate across varying lines of business or disciplines is a critical skill set in this new economy. I'm confident that my time in the MBA program helped play a part in that skill development and deployment.

What have been some of your most rewarding experiences in our MBA and Ph.D. programs? 

For me, it almost always comes down to the people. The Point Park faculty sharing their wealth of knowledge and expertise, while gently providing the guidance needed to sort out something brand new, has been one aspect that resonates. 

A second, and equally weighted reward, has been my cohort members in the Ph.D. program. We started as the inaugural cohort in our program in August of 2015, again building something new, and years later as many of us continue to move on, we remain connected as friends and peer educators to one another. To me, that’s invaluable, and something I will cherish well after this program is completed.

Tell us about your professors in the MBA and Ph.D. programs.

Dr. Talbott is one of the most patient, helpful and wise professors I’ve ever had. She truly has an uncanny ability to meet her students where they are, and draw down on her myriad experiences to align her guidance to students in a very custom, curated manor — it’s been so incredible.

The behind-the-curtain reality is that I have shifted industries, roles and levels of responsibility on a somewhat continuous basis since starting the Ph.D. program, and her patience while I juggle a busy work life, with active community roles, has been steadfast and incredibly encouraging.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

Life is what you make it, and when you pull it all back, additional letters after you name will never make you a better person, or a harder worker — only you will. These additional opportunities and skill development experiences are incredible investments and tools into your toolbox, but what you choose to do with them is what charts your path. 

Connect with Michael Harding


More About: Rowland School of Business, Ph.D. in community engagement, M.B.A., community engagement, alumni, success story