George Paz, chairman and CEO of Express Scripts Inc., stands in the center of the Express Scripts employees who graduated last month from the Professional MBA program at UMSL.

Charles Moore, senior director of information technology at Express Scripts, researched several master’s of business administration programs. He knew he wanted to earn his MBA, but working fulltime while doing so wasn’t going to be an easy task.

After learning about the Professional MBA program at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and the special cohort program available to Express Scripts employees, Moore decided an advanced degree was in his future.

“I was leery of the logistics,” Moore said. “However, with the UMSL partnership, I met with classmates at Express Scripts to work on group projects before work, over lunch and after work.”

Moore was one of 17 Express Scripts employees to graduate last month and the second ESI group to participate in this program.

Employees are nominated for the Express Scripts PMBA program by vice presidents and approved by senior staff members. The program, like UMSL’s standard professional MBA, is a 23-month, 48-credit course of study requiring two days of intensive classroom time each month, augmented by online coursework and group projects.

Thomas Eyssell, associate dean and director of Graduate Studies in the College of Business Administration at UMSL, established the program with Express Scripts. Since the company built its headquarters on the UMSL campus in 2007, the program was just another example of the many partnerships between the two organizations.

“Speaking as a faculty member, the Express Scripts PMBA students are a joy to work with – bright, inquisitive and intensely motivated. As the program director, I have found the UMSL-Express Scripts partnership to be immensely worthwhile, due in no small part to the support of senior leadership and to the very capable work of our liaisons at the firm.”

In addition to the amazing students in the cohorts, Eyssell said the program has been a success because of the great support it receives. He especially credits the work of Express Scripts employees Melanie Curtis and Loretta Zemel, who help organize the cohorts.

“Support for this goes all the way to the top,” he said. “Everyone at Express Scripts supports this in every way. From the nominations, which are made by management and identified as high performers, to the flexibility given to the participants to take part in the monthly onsite classes. All of these components really have been the key to the program’s success.”

Jackie Speckert, senior manager of pharmacy operations at Express Scripts, said she changed her view of her job through the program.

“I find myself stepping back and looking at it from a different perspective,” Speckert said. “It’s much more high-level and more strategic. I ask myself, ‘How’s this going to affect the company as a whole and not just our team or individual department?’ I’m conscious of how my decisions really do impact the big picture.”

Kelley Elliott, vice president and chief accounting officer, said she gained a deeper appreciation for the internal complexities of the business during her two years of study than in her previous nine years with Express Scripts.

“The Project Management course alone gave me a new appreciation for what our organization does in order to execute on a project,” Elliot said.

The other Express Scripts employee graduates are: Kevin Bauer, director of business analysis; Darryl Besse, director of cost analysis; Steve Butters, senior account manager; Lisa Cannone, senior director of compliance; Tracie Crow, director of product management; Korey Ewing, senior manager of business analysis and planning; Olivia Hancock, senior product manager of specialty integration; Dawn Kelly, senior director of business analysis and planning; Steve Morgan, assistant general counsel of legal services; January Realista, senior manager of product management; Julia Reinbold, director of accounting; Jennifer Seeser, senior director of accounting; Mike Shoemaker, business systems analysis specialist for information technology; and Ryan Soderstrom, senior director of marketing.

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Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton