An MBA trip to Copenhagen influenced Cordell Covington’s career path
As the world shifted to remote work and online learning in the spring of 2020, Cordell Covington took on a major challenge: earning a master’s degree while working full-time.
When he graduates this June with an MBA from the Daniels College of Business and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from University College, Covington will have accomplished that goal twice over.
Before arriving at DU, Covington spent four years building his leadership skills as an operations and supply chain manager in the Army, while stationed at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. Covington, whose father served in the Air Force and brother joined the Marine Corps after high school, says that he started to consider enlisting in the Army after he transferred to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville during his undergraduate studies. “Growing up in an Air Force family, I always had the itch to join the military,” he says.
Already partway through earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, he chose to postpone his enlistment until after graduation. “I decided to stick with it,” he says. “I was already committed to my education, so I finished that.”
With a diploma in hand, Covington moved home for three months before shipping off to basic training and later being stationed at Fort Carson. When he left the Army in 2016, Covington jumped right into a job with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce before earning management positions at Oracle and the Colorado Athletic Club.
Just as the coronavirus pandemic turned the world upside down in 2020, Covington took on a new role as strategy and business development manager with ShareScape, a medical- and legal-focused cloud storage startup.
While settling into his new job, Covington says he was drawn to University College’s organizational leadership program, with its remote and hybrid course offerings and commitment to ethical leadership. “That’s very high on my priority list,” he says. “We’ve all seen it now and in recent times; unethical leadership can destroy an organization, destroy morale or create hostile environments.” And with a concentration in strategic innovation and change, Covington combined the core tenets of leadership with the practical skills needed to affect positive change throughout the organizations he is involved with.
In 2021, Covington was accepted into the professional MBA program at Daniels College of Business and began taking classes in both programs simultaneously. After traveling to Copenhagen with his PMBA cohort, he added a custom concentration in sustainability. Inspired by the advancements in corporate social and environmental sustainability he witnessed during the trip, Covington says he wants to put those skills to use. “After meeting with all the companies, I was like, ‘Hey, I like what they’re doing here.’ I wanted to learn more, and to be able to bring that back here and expand on organizational sustainability goals internally,” he says.
After completing both master’s programs in June, Covington wants to put his leadership skills to work. “I would really love to get into management consulting or to find an opportunity in diversity, equity and inclusion consulting,” he says. “That’s where I want to go, and I’m going to try and get there with everything I’ve accumulated over the last three years.”
And with a passion for environmental, social and economic sustainability and the skills to match, Covington has what it takes.
“I’m here to make my family proud, make those who supported me along the way proud and really to have a positive impact on those I’m around, my community and those who I work with,” he says. “I’m here to implement some of the positive change that we need in the world.”
Ending a three-year stint as a double master’s student and working full time, Covington also plans to spend more time with his wife and their two dogs, a Weimaraner named Storm and a Belgian-Malinois mix named Atlas, get back onto the basketball court, and take some time off and enjoy a hard-earned vacation.