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Among the students in Saunders College of Business’s Class of 2021 is Christopher Hart, a full-time Innovation Manager for the Cleveland Indians. Since he enrolled in the MS Service Leadership and Innovation (SLI) program at Saunders, Christopher has been able to apply what he is learning on a day-to-day basis.

“The most beneficial aspect of the program has been the real-world application of the work. Being employed full-time, the ability to apply the principles and lessons in real-time means that the work has had an immediate impact and immediate value,” said Christopher.

This unique perspective makes Christopher a prime candidate to describe the influence the SLI program has had on his job role. Read below to learn what SLI can offer aspiring business professionals from Christopher’s point of view.

Q: How has the SLI program prepared you for your line of work?

A: SLI has prepared me by providing coursework that has tangible problems and thoughtful case-studies that demonstrate the lessons being learned. It has also allowed me as a student who is also working full-time to see how the principles taught in the classroom apply in the real-world in real-time. I now have the framework and the tools needed to not only bring an innovation-based approach to the work I do at the Cleveland Indians, but I'm now better suited to lead my innovation team and effectively collaborate with other cross-functional groups.

Q: How was the Saunders experience different from other educational experiences you have had previously?

A: The Saunders experience has been unique because it brings together all of the best parts of RIT. In doing so, it reflects the way that technology, design, business, and management all come together in the roles that Saunders students will go onto after graduation.

Q: What were your favorite SLI courses?

A: Two that I found particularly impactful were service scenario and strategy development as well as breakthrough thinking, creativity, and innovation. I saw immediate applications from the assignments and course materials as I helped the fan experience vision for the ballpark due to COVID-19.

Q: Why would you recommend the SLI program to others?

A: I would recommend SLI because of the combination of innovation and leadership, which is very hard to find. Most master's programs geared towards innovation lean more towards design or engineering, while leadership on its own is commonly only found within an MBA. SLI brings these two together to provide a unique offering that sets up students for real-world success. 

The Service Leadership and Innovation program offers the opportunity to build your business knowledge through a personalized degree. Those looking to enhance their resume and personal abilities in leadership and innovation can learn more about the program by visiting Master of Science Leadership and Innovation or connecting with Matthew Cornwell, Assistant Director of Student Services and Outreach.

Learn more about Saunders programs from notable students and alumni by viewing Saunders Spotlights.