Mike Popielski, was one of the 537 members of the PNC Class of 2008 when he earned his degree in Organizational Leadership and Supervision with an emphasis in Human Resource Management.
He will continue his education at the Valparaiso University School of Law so that he can pursue a career in employment law when he completes law school.
An interesting path brought Popielski to PNC. He explained that he was working as an HR professional and recruiting candidates through the PNC Career Development Website (who was hired). “This is how I learned about PNC . . . remembered this experience about three years later when I decided to finish my degree.”
When he decided to return to school, Popielski left his full time job, sold his house and moved back home with his mother, Jan Cohen. Eventually, he worked some part time jobs during my time at PNC and in December he took on a full time job.
“This last semester has been the most challenging, with five classes and working full time,” he said. I owe a debt of gratitude to all my family and friends for encouraging me along the way and for reminding me why I’m doing all this.”
Through it all he maintained a near-perfect grade point average.
“I was able to sustain this GPA by breaking down my long term objectives into smaller, more manageable goals. Day by day; week by week; semester by semester, I kept my focus on the present, not stressing over the uncertainty of the future. As someone who traditionally thinks in more futuristic terms, this was a difficult adjustment to make, but I think a necessary one,” said Popielski.
His success in the classroom paid other dividends as well. He was awarded two academic scholarships – one from the PNC Trio Club and the other from the Society for Human Resource Management. In September he was inducted into the PNC chapter of Alpha Sigma Lambda, an honor society for adult student. In December he earned certification as a senior professional in the human resources industry (SPHR).
But he also admits that as a “non traditional student” who had been out of the classroom for 15 years when he started his PNC classes he had a bit of a culture shock in returning to campus.
Soon, he found himself immersed in his studies and student life.
“Many of my classes required group work. I have been privileged to have worked with some very talented students and to have made new friends along the way,” he said. “From the meetings on and off campus to the final presentations, these are the experiences I will most cherish as I look back at my time at PNC.”
All of his hard work paid off as Popielski was accepted in to three law schools. He notes that he intends to “use my law degree to secure a position as corporate counsel for a major corporation that doesn’t yet realize it needs me.”
He offers his advice to others in the same situation he was in a few years ago, “I would absolutely recommend PNC to anyone, of any age, who is considering higher education. I have been most impressed with the consistency in topics and training processes from one class to the next. From studying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to completing the end of semester satisfaction survey, PNC has demonstrated its commitment to providing a quality education through repetition and soliciting feedback.”