Scott Hanson was in his first few weeks of MSOE’s MBA in Education Leadership program when the pandemic hit. As someone with a young family, a working spouse, and a demanding job, it might have been easy to put an intensive course of studies on hold for a bit.  

But as it turned out, the MBA-EL program offered a lifeline. As the pandemic – and it challenges – wore on, Hanson’s cohort of classmates, all educators like himself, became a resource he could rely upon for support and encouragement. He credits the program’s model of team-based learning for fostering that collaborative environment. “In other programs I felt like I was getting my own degree,” he said. “At MSOE it feels like we’re collectively getting our degrees together.” 

Hanson came to MSOE after earning master’s degrees in instruction and administrative leadership, which he has valued. But in his fourth year as principal at St. Joseph Academy, a K-8 school in Milwaukee, he had ambitions for continually improved performance, and realized he had more to learn. MSOE’s program had what he was looking for: a chance to more deeply understand the business mechanisms of education, everything from project management to human resources, budgeting and marketing. He has already walked away with tangibles such as a hundred-day strategy for new administrators and a compensation plan. 

“With me being in a role as a principal already, it’s just been phenomenal. It’s enhancing what I’m doing even more, because I can contextualize the next day as I’m learning new skills and practices.”  

Hanson appreciates the chance to learn from highly skilled instructors with experience in the business world, and he’s eager to apply those skills to the business of educating young people. “With education, I feel like the ‘why’ is so much more palpable,” he says. “Because you’re looking at the ‘why’ every day as you interact with students at school.” And it’s about more than profits or products. “You’re preparing students and, in some ways, their families to achieve their dreams and goals. That’s just very fulfilling.”  

Hanson earned his undergraduate degree in history, and while in college traveled to Central America and Spain to study Spanish. After graduation he spent four years in a series of volunteer service opportunities (“my parents were very patient with me,” he says with a smile). These took him to South America, New Mexico and eventually Milwaukee’s south side, where he worked as a volunteer teacher before deciding to make it a career. He has stayed on the south side while pursuing his career, and finds himself drawn to the Spanish-speaking community there. 

“I consider my purpose as equipping young people for a life of choice and opportunity,” he says. “I feel it’s really important to position yourself to take advantage of opportunities in life that tug at your heart. I want all my students to be in a position to make those choices. And my staff, too.”