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Chemist Grows Business Skills Through SLU MBA

While other children grew up playing with blocks and stuffed animals, Kendra Rakers played with science kits and microscope sets. Born to parents who were also scientists, Rakers felt destined to go into the field. 


Kendra Rakers

After studying neuroscience and biochemistry, Rakers landed a job as an associate scientist in lipids manufacturing at MilliporeSigma, a world-wide specialist in the production and distribution of chemicals. In the role, she synthesizes, extracts and combines multiple chemicals to make one final product such as fatty acids, cholesterols or sterols for use by other other scientists like medical researchers.

Though comfortable in the science field, Rakers knew there was room to grow her career.

“I realized there’s a huge business background even behind science because we are not just doing research,"  Rakers explained. "We’re making products and selling them, and you have to have that background, especially if you want to move up on the management side.” 

To build upon her skills, Rakers enrolled in the Professional MBA program at SLU’s Chaifetz School of Business. Through management courses, Rakers has already filled her tool belt with practical business skills to help her further her career.

“I know what it takes to be a good manager now and to be a good leader," Rakers noted. "I might have had the basis of those skills but no idea how to hone or put them into practice. Pursuing an MBA has definitely helped me do that.” 

With the knowledge gained through SLU’s MBA program, Rakers has begun to implement new strategies in her job at MilliporeSigma. Incorporating her knowledge of business with her passion for science, the MBA program has helped Rakers recognize new issues and develop new solutions in her daily work, she said.

“I noticed that it is a male-dominated field especially on the management side. I hadn’t noticed it before, but it really made me think what can I do to make a difference,” Rakers said.

Rakers said she's motivated to not only help optimize management practices at MilliporeSigma but also to enhance the science industry overall by encouraging women to join and develop in the sciences. This insight has instilled a new-found appreciation for the business aspects of the science field, inspiring her to put her new management skills to use.

The Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business is the oldest business school west of the Mississippi and has been educating the business leaders of tomorrow for more than a 100 years. With a network of over 20,000 successful alumni, graduates of the Chaifetz School of Business gain business skills and form a network that accelerates careers. Learn more about the Chaifetz School’s graduate business programs at an upcoming information session.

Learn more about Chaifetz School graduate programs