Deciding to pursue a graduate degree is one of the hardest decisions a person will make. It is surely not a small investment. Yet, the relationships you make, the knowledge you gain and the experiences you receive are invaluable. If someone is looking for a great return on investment, look no further: A graduate degree will provide positive gains. For Linda Simon, K-State’s Graduate Alumni Fellow, her ROI for receiving a doctorate was measured in her successful career milestones.
A 1994 doctorate of K-State’s industrial and organizational psychology program and the 2015 Graduate School Alumni Fellow, Linda Simon is the senior vice president of human resources of DIRECTV. There Simon is responsible for driving a companywide approach to talent management, including staffing, leadership and organizational development.
While at K-State, Simon spent most of her time focusing on the I/O (industrial/organizational) psychology. She was extremely eager to learn anything and everything about the field.
“Once I discovered I/O (industrial/organizational) Psychology was out there, I was interested in mastering it and learning as much as I could,” said Simon.
Simon was dedicated to her assistantship and her studies. The assistantship provided opportunities for her to do applied research and work with communities in rural Kansas that resulted on focusing on what is now her professional career, community and leadership development.
“The Ph.D. program is phenomenal. The critical thinking skills teach you how to look at a situation, analyze it, and critique it. You learn how to not get carried away with perfecting things.”
Simon admits the experiences she received while pursuing her doctorate has benefitted her personally and professionally.
“I know what it has done for me and my confidence level to have that grounding and foundation of knowledge,” said Simon. “I am proud of what the discipline continues to provide to the workforce.”
To this day, Simon credits her major professor, Dr. Patrick Knight, and her other mentor, Dr. Ron Downey, for her educational and professional foundation and for providing her with the necessary tools to develop the relationships and networks she was able to build.
“Ron Downey alerted me about Pizza Hut, which was my first job after completing the doctorate program,” said Simon. “You never know what relationships you will build early on that can help you down the road.”
Simon offered some valuable advice to those who are currently pursuing professional opportunities.
“Get as much experience as you can. The assistantship helped, but also look for internships with companies. As you get those internships, the network and connections you make will help you get that first job.”
To learn more about Linda Simon please visit the Graduate School.