QUINLAN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
Hometown: Crown Point, Indiana
Major: Master of Business Administration
Expected date of graduation: 2022
Michael Halgas was drawn to Loyola’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program because of its emphasis on ethics and social responsibility. His years-long work at Threadless, a company similarly dedicated to sustainable and ethical business practices, pushed him to pursue further education. His work and his education at Loyola go hand in hand to help him become a more ethical business leader.
Here, Michael reflects on what led him to Loyola and what has been the most memorable part of his experience.
What is your major and why did you chose it?
I chose to pursue an MBA just given the trajectory of my career. I graduated from undergrad in a business management program in 2005 and have worked at Threadless for the last 15 or so years. I thought it was an important step in my career development to get a more formal education that helped expose different areas of business and update my skillset to some of the more current trends in business strategy, business activities, and things like that.
I chose to pursue the MBA at Loyola because there's a lot of flexibility here. I was able to pursue the MBA part-time and was able to explore a lot of different courses. I was also drawn to Loyola's focus on ethics, taking action in the right way, and not putting profits over people, the environment, or anything else that is really important.
Working at Threadless has shown me a great example of what a true focus on stakeholders looks like. Not just shareholders, but stakeholders. We work with artists, consumers, vendors, and our community at large. Our management has focused on sustainability and ethical, moral treatment of consumers and our communities. I think the experience that I’ve had there is really what helped me see the value in a more formal education from Loyola considering the ethical components of the program. My experience at Threadless and my Loyola education have both shown me the value of being an ethics-minded business leader.
What has been the best or most memorable part of your Loyola experience?
One memorable course was Jennifer Griffin’s international business ethics class. Not only is she passionate about her field, she’s extremely knowledgeable about current events. It was unfortunate that we were unable to meet in the classroom because of the pandemic, but I think the speakers that she brought in were incredible resources for the class and really exposed everyone to a lot of different perspectives and knowledge that wouldn’t have come from textbooks or lectures.
I had so many great teachers like Professor Griffin who are passionate about their fields. There are too many to name, but I want to call out my accounting professor Kevin Lee, economics professor Mine Cinar, and supply chain professor John Caltagirone. A common theme amongst all of them was a focus on doing the right thing from both a skills perspective and a moral and ethical perspective. Something that has always been stressed at Loyola is there is an action component of education. You should take what you’ve learned in a textbook or classroom and apply it in the real world.
A solid portion of my time at Loyola was affected by the pandemic. That being said, I think a lot of the professors did a really great job. Loyola did a really great job in providing a pretty solid experience regardless. I think the online programs that were put together under a tight timeline were still highly valuable.