Student perspectives: Rider’s Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program

Lechelle Scott and Joseph Space ’16 reflect on their experiences
After Lechelle Scott graduated from Stockton University in 2014, she briefly worked in business before realizing that her passion was helping students grow and develop. She took a job at Drexel University, where she is the coordinator of residential living and student conduct. In 2017, she enrolled in Rider’s Master of Arts in Organizational leadership program, with a concentration in higher education leadership. She hopes to use her degree to advance her career in student affairs, where she can focus on “helping students engage in impactful learning when their choices or actions have caused harm to themselves, others, or a community,” she says. 
Joseph Space ’16, who receive a bachelor’s in psychology from Rider, is a manager of operations at Educational Testing Services. He returned to Rider last year to work towards a master’s in organizational leadership with a concentration in developing people and organizations. He says the degree is relevant to his job because he has 32 employees reporting to him. “One of the key components of my job is to manage people and help them reach their professional goals through performance reviews, departmental opportunities, training and coaching,” he says. 
Here, Scott and Space talk about their reasons for choosing Rider, how the program helps them in their careers and offer advice to others who are considering going back to school for a graduate degree in organizational leadership.
Why did you choose Rider?
ScottI chose to attend Rider for graduate school because I felt a sense of value the institution had for its students. I had gone to other open houses, but when I learned about my area of studies, I knew that Rider would allow me to grow and evolve as a professional.
Space: As an undergraduate here, I embraced the faculty, campus and support that Rider had provided. I felt that Rider would be an excellent place for me to pursue my graduate studies. I wanted to enroll in a program that would complement my current work responsibilities. I went through the coursework and proposed organizational leadership program at Rider and immediately felt it would be a good fit for me. I recognized that a bulk of my career encompasses developing people professionally and the organizational leadership program at Rider has a concentration that emphasizes developing people and organizations. 
What has your experience in the program been like?
Scott: Coming up on my last semester, I would say that my experience in the program has been nothing but great. I have been pushed to think and act outside of the box to stay current with the climate of the world, and I’ve learned a lot about my leadership style along the way. I am concentrating in higher education, and it has been completely interactive with the application taken from the course books. This program has strengthened my abilities to make decisions while empowering my students.
Space: My experience in the organizational leadership program has been positive. The program has challenged me to improve in areas such as writing, researching, and managing. The faculty has all been supportive and fair in their grading. Some of the more challenging courses I have taken include organizational research and developing the human side of organizations. These classes are interactive, writing-intensive and collaborative. 
What advice do you have for prospective students looking for a program and considering a career in organizational leadership?
Scott: My words of advice would be to think about an institution whose program aligns with your career and personal goals/values. Organizational leadership is an essential component to the areas of work that individuals may experience. This program has allowed us to look at problems from a lens that is unique to traditional problem solving. Rider University has allowed for this program to create dynamic leaders who can lead from the top, middle or bottom when empowering individuals or groups of people. 
Space: I would say that the skills taught and learned through the organizational leadership program are valuable for all students looking to become a transformational leader. The program is adaptive to the type of leadership prospective students intend to pursue whether that is higher education, developing people and organizations, or counseling related services. The organizational leadership program is a valuable tool to develop, learn and modify leadership skills to lead successfully in today's workforce. 
What do you think makes Rider unique compared to other schools you were considering?
Scott: Rider University looks at the student as a whole and sees their potential.  When I was going through the application process I was considering a number of schools, but when I looked deeper into this specific program and Rider’s values, I instantly knew that this institution would align up with how I envisioned my graduate education to be.
Space: I appreciate the genuine relationships that faculty try to achieve with their students regardless of the class being in person or online. The small classroom size at Rider and the set curriculum tracks have allowed me to build relationships with colleagues in the organizational leadership program as well.