Penske Truck Leasing and Penske Logistics are partnering with Alvernia University to offer a Master of Business Administration degree. Alvernia, a 3,000-student, 121-acre private institution in Reading, Pa., is bringing its MBA professors to Penske’s global headquarters in Reading, Pa., for a program that begins Oct. 23. The two campuses are separated by 4.3 miles.
According to Penske senior trainer Colleen Kunkle classes will meet weekly and the 17 enrolled students are expected to earn their degrees in three years (the number could increase to 20 by the time classes start). The program follows a cohort model: students start collectively and graduate together.
Penske associates will receive a discounted tuition rate.
Six associates work in a finance capacity, while the rest support the company’s supply chain, fleet services, truck vehicle maintenance, used trucks, quality and information technology groups.
Cilia Torres is a project manager for Penske’s used trucks product line where she works with the company’s vendors and its various sales channels. She earned a criminal justice bachelor‘s degree from Alvernia and has been with the company for nine years.
“I was researching various MBA programs and I thought that this was a great option,” she said. “Having the program here at Penske gave me the push to start now.” Torres is also pursuing her Six Sigma black belt certification.
Kevin Bender has spent 13 years in the supply chain industry, earning a bachelor’s degree in business logistics, with an operations management minor, from Penn State University. He has been with Penske for a little over a year as a manager for carrier relations, involved with the company’s third-party logistics transportation network.
“I was looking to enter a graduate program for a number of years,” Bender explained. “This is a good program for family life and work balance – I have two small children at home. I feel like this is the last piece to help me get to the executive level.”
While Penske spends millions on training each year for the company’s 18,300 global associates, and has a long history of promoting educational and developmental opportunities to their associates, this is the first time they have partnered with a university to bring classes directly to their associates.
“I would call this relationship with Alvernia another progression of our learning efforts,” explained Ken Hurley, Penske senior vice president of human resources. “We promote high levels of learning and career development here at Penske. At every level of the organization there are opportunities for our associates to learn, grow and develop – both personally and professionally.
“As a company we care about our associates and one way we do that is by showing an interest in their personal and career growth through our tuition assistance program,” he stated. “Programs like this are a great way to help develop the next generation of Penske leadership talent.”
Penske has a long-time relationship with Alvernia and has employees who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from the school.
Alvernia has offered its MBA program on locations at other area companies. Its business faculty conducts regional leadership and training seminars.
“We really believe that partnerships like this are important for professionals in the community,” said Daria LaTorre, Alvernia dean of graduate and adult education. “If we can make it easier for Penske employees to gain a career advantage with minimal impact on their busy lives, then it’s well worth the effort.”
By “Move Ahead” Staff