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Alumni Stories: Rising Leader Upskills Business Acumen, Lands Dream Job

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Kyle McCall

Kyle McCall has been a high-achiever his entire career. From earning a license in professional counseling before 30, to opening his own private practice, and networking within the mental health communities, he’s always been what he describes as a “doer.”

Between providing substance abuse therapy and counseling his individual clients, when Kyle enrolled in the Invited MBA, he was working one-on-one with individuals full-time. He enjoyed his work, his company, and the impact of each day. But he also desired something more –  a role that allowed him to manage people and make an impact on employee engagement. Combining mental health and program management might have been difficult, but not for Kyle.

“Because of my age, I didn’t have the exact experience that many employers wanted. I knew if I wanted to make a change, I had to make myself competitive and gain additional skills to set me apart,” he said. “I saw a path forward in my career, and I knew what I needed to do to make that happen. The Invited MBA was the piece I needed to stand out from the competition.”

Using the Invited MBA to Upskill Financial Acumen

Kyle applied and was accepted into the Fall 2021 Invited MBA Cohort. Though he didn’t know how much the program would stretch his skills, he already had goals in mind for his experience.

“I had some project management experience, but I lacked a lot of formal business knowledge and financial literacy,” he said. “I thought practically, what skills do people need to be successful in business? If you could boil down a two year MBA into a reduction – just the real stuff, that’s the Invited MBA. That was more appealing to me. I knew I needed the Invited MBA to secure a new role.”

Kyle found the management and financial modules to be the most challenging, but also the most relevant and rewarding.

“The finance piece was necessary for me, and the Invited MBA made it digestible,” he said. “I was nervous going in because I don’t have a business background. But I’m so much more confident in how I talk about financial challenges now.”

The facilitator-lead, team-based simulations also made an impact on Kyle’s learning and retention. The fully-virtual experiences revealed a lot of real-life scenarios that he found beneficial for his future career development.

“It was shocking to me how applicable the simulations and people management were to the real world. Within the simulations, you have to make decisions quickly. That was incredibly valuable for me, because it applies directly to the real world. The people management piece of the Invited MBA directly applied to my life immediately,” he said.

Leveraging New Skills for Advancement

When Kyle completed the Invited MBA program, he began networking within the Austin community and applying for jobs with a mental health focus that allowed him to flex his newfound business and financial acumen. Very quickly, he received a job offer to work with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services and the Williamson County Crisis Team.

“I always knew I had it in me. I didn’t have the skills, though,” he said. “The Invited MBA made me far more confident advocating for myself, my work ethic, and the things I’ve learned throughout my career. Engaging with people in different fields in the program also opened my eyes to so many other careers, realizing my skills translate into so many opportunities.”

In his new role, Kyle works directly with community stakeholders, building relationships to improve the county’s response to mental health crises. The job requires understanding regulatory needs, managing a team of employees, and developing partnerships with people across the county – all skills he further developed through the Invited MBA.

“This role is very different from the mental health, individual-focused roles I was doing. It involves program management, working with employees, and coming up with procedures. It’s the perfect intersection of the things I care about,” he said.

What’s Next?

Kyle is most excited about developing the county’s first-ever Diversion Center, an acute stabilization facility with the goal of psychiatric crisis intervention to improve ER wait times, divert jail time for people in crisis, and shorten the time from law enforcement response to discharge. The triage facility combines many of Kyle’s passions, and will continue requiring financial literacy, business acumen, and people management skills.

Rising leader upskills

“In nonprofit and health communities, you’re helping vulnerable people who don’t have access to resources. There’s so much fighting against stigmatization. When helping people in crisis, they can be talked through their hardest moments. You can always find ways to help people with substance abuse cope with their struggles. It doesn’t have to be hopeless. That’s meaningful to me,” he said. “Now I have the business knowledge, and I can put it into meaningful practice in my role. Being able to talk about fiscal responsibility, grant funding, allocation, it’s so beneficial to me and a credit to what I learned from the Invited MBA.”

When Kyle first met with his new team in person, he administered the Type Coach personality test, something he studied during the Invited MBA program.

“I’m passionate about developing and growing people into what they’re excited about. It translates to better client care, employee satisfaction, longer retention, and ongoing development,” he said. “Clicking through slides is not engaging. The Invited MBA was engaging, and I wanted to use some of those learnings with my own team.”

Equipped with newfound confidence and experiences, Kyle remains excited for the future. Though the Diversion Center project requires a unique skillset, he’s adamant that lofty goals can be accomplished through hard work and intentionality. 

“The Invited MBA gave me the skills I needed to be successful in my role. It was exactly what I needed to pivot into the career I wanted. I know that I can be successful both now and in the future.”

To learn more about the Invited MBA, click here. You can connect with Kyle on LinkedIn here to stay up to date on the Williamson County Diversion Center. 

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