We asked Maria Elena Giner, P.E., EMBA ‘14, to share a bit about herself and her experience in UTEP's MBA Program. Maria is currently the General Manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional work experience before joining the program.
Before joining the program, I had almost 23 years of work experience in the public and private sectors developing and implementing environmental infrastructure projects for public utilities. During this time, I held various technical and managerial positions with the opportunity to work with the public, NGO’s, academia, federal, state, and local agencies and legislators in both the US and Mexico. My education had consisted of a Bachelor’s of Science in Civil Engineering with an emphasis in environmental from Loyola Marymount University and I am a registered professional engineer in the state of Texas. During the program, I balanced program demands with my employment as the General Manager of the Border Environment Cooperation Commission, an international organization created by NAFTA to assist communities in the development and implementation of environmental infrastructure on both sides of the U.S-Mexico border. I currently reside in El Paso Texas, with my husband Antonio and three children - Cassandra, Isabella, and Sofia.
What drove you to seek out a Master’s in Business Administration?
The reason I pursued the Executive MBA program was to help fill a gap and compliment the technical training I had with my engineering degree. As the General Manager of an international organization that provides technical services to the public sector I felt that I was providing leadership rather intuitively and not based on formal training. Although the 10+ years of senior management experience were certainly helpful I thought recalibrating my skills through the EMBA program would increase my leadership qualities.
How has the program helped you in your profession?
The skills that we learned here at The University of Texas at El Paso EMBA program have provided me with the tools to be a credible leader and a good steward of the institution I have been entrusted to manage. The curriculum and professors were excellent providing practical experience where I was able to integrate class lessons into activities related to my position from the very first class. In addition to these practical skills, from a philosophical perspective, I was better able to understand the intersect of the roles of the public and private sectors and gain an appreciation for how the private sector can be important in environmental issues such as climate change, air and water quality, and land use. Protecting our planet continues to be a passion of mine.
Do you anticipate a promotion or career change now that you have completed your MBA?
No, I did not envision completing this program for the sake of a promotion or career change, but to refine my skills as a leader. However I did expand my network of contacts through the program, professors, and fellow cohort members. This has provided me the confidence that should I seek employment elsewhere; opportunities will be found through these new contacts in addition to my newly acquired training associated with the program.
What would you tell people considering the EMBA program?
I particularly enjoyed the executive cohort experience. We graduated as a cohort of 19, which consisted of all executives with staff sizes that ranged from the small, self-employed entity to an organization of over 400. Our diverse backgrounds included industries from defense, health care, energy, environment, finance, government, manufacturing, and logistics. Together, we had the privilege of sharing our insights and learning from each other and as a result transformed this experience into a life changing one that positively impacted our lives. In spite of us all starting as strangers, we have ended up as life-long friends. The program is phenomenal and a true gem for our region. I would encourage any executive to enroll.