2021 Best & Brightest Online MBAs: Gena (Levengood) Petrunyak, Lehigh University

Gena (Levengood) Petrunyak

Lehigh University College of Business

Optimistic, analytical, curious, go-getter, and figures out ways to get things done!”

Age:  29

Hometown: Providence, RI

Fun fact about yourself:  Completed an Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) while fundraising for Girls on the Run NGO despite COVID-19 delays and unknowns

Undergraduate School and Degree: Lehigh University – B.S. Industrial Engineering; B.S. Integrated Business and Engineering

Where are you currently working?  Johnson & Johnson – Reverse Logistics Manager

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Earning my Lean Six Sigma Black Belt in Process Excellence this past year: it was truly a culmination of collaboration with operational associates in the distribution center and Marketing / Supply Chain to define and execute a new workstream to drive new medical device product launches.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? I loved the hybrid approach to the core classes showcasing the true integration upon which the business world relies: the co-teaching gave depth to each topic while providing breadth to the overall curriculum.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? It was the flexibility that was offered: being able to be in person for some classes and remote for others. During my MBA journey, I traveled for work, planned a wedding, relocated from NJ to RI, bought a house, trained for an Ironman, and focused through a pandemic… without missing a beat.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment?  I grew to appreciate the connectedness and support between my different teams.  As most of us were working professionals, we quickly learned the value of time management, prioritizing, and dividing & conquering. Doing so virtually became the norm that we were able to thrive and communicate in this unique environment.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? It gave me the flexibility to continue putting in long hours for career success and be present for class, whereas the undergrad experience truly focused on being a part of the college campus community.  The networking amongst my MBA peers (from other industries as well as the same company) was invaluable.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Engage in class discussions and be honest with your teammates if life is getting in the way – a support system and rhythm will form that can translate into career success as well.

What would you change about an online MBA Program? I would increase the focus around current events discussion, especially within the students’ specific industries. Many best practices could be leveraged between companies – it is helpful to hear what works for some that might work for others.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? It has helped forge relationships with colleagues who might not have the same background or work in the same department or company as me. It encourages me to listen to all viewpoints before making decisions and considering other thoughts and ideas.

Number of Hours Per Week Spent On Online MBA: 10-12, depending on course-load over 4 years

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I’d love to one day become a leader in the healthcare industry, overseeing end-to-end product management of life-saving devices and technology.  I have always enjoyed weaving the stories of customers into design; with my experience, I would look to operationalize those ideas into an executable deliverable. It is so important to be able to concisely communicate what might be complex puzzles and ideas out to the communities around us to ultimately improve everyday living.


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