A Couple’s Journey: Husband-Wife Team Reflect on Getting Their Executive MBAs Together

Married couples often make many decisions together. Deciding to both go back to school at the same time isn’t usually one of them. For Tiffani ‛13MBA and Fredrik Lindstrom ‛13MBA, it was the perfect decision. They each had their own motivations for going back to school after getting settled into their careers. Tiffani had earned her bachelor’s in accounting and was looking to get her CPA certification. She needed a master’s degree to do that, and she wanted a well-rounded education and felt an MBA was the best choice. After studying information security, data, and computer communication, Fredrik earned his bachelor’s in business administration but wanted a broader exposure to management in order to further his career. Both Tiffani and Fredrik looked to the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College to provide the quality education they were seeking. 

When looking back on their time at Crummer, the Lindstroms reflected that they had very different experiences. All students are put into cohorts and work on teams for a variety of projects and coursework. “Looking back now, we had the best of both worlds and could see what the other person was experiencing,” Tiffani said.  She learned valuable team management and other soft skills at an executive level, important for personal and professional development.  

Managing group work wasn’t the only challenge, scheduling was also another difficulty. “We were very busy,” Fredrik said. “I was traveling every week, and we had to make sure we got everything done.” Getting an advanced degree while managing a full-time job takes some finesse. The Lindstroms developed a routine where Saturday was their day for class, and Sunday was when they would get all their coursework done. “We had wine and pizza and sat down to work,” Fredrik said.  

After finishing her Executive MBA at Crummer, Tiffani went on to work as a tax manager for a few different firms before opening her own business, Lindstrom CPA. Its mission is to provide the best accounting and tax services possible for small and mid-sized companies. “They often fall into a crack. Small and mid-sized companies need just as much help if not more than the big guys. We provide them with services that a larger company would get.” She credits her time at Crummer with teaching her how to work with others who have different personalities and to grow a cohesive team by accepting strengths and weaknesses and sourcing out who is good at what.  

Fredrik is now the global head of professional services at Check Point Software, the company that created the firewall and founded the cybersecurity industry itself 30 years ago. He leads a team of almost 300 people and helps customers implement products and improve their security posture. For his career, one of the key takeaways from Crummer is the accounting knowledge he gained. “The accounting part has been helpful when I talk about it to business analysts. I have a good understanding of how accounting works for services in general.” 

With both Tiffani and Fredrik currently in leadership positions, they have words of wisdom to share about being a successful leader. Fredrik emphasized being flexible, open, and allowing others to try their own ideas, learn from them, and move forward. He also discussed the importance of being a leader who truly understands their employees’ work: “Lead from the front. Be in the trenches with your team and know what your employees are doing day to day.” Tiffani underscored the importance of patience and understanding: “You don’t always have to be right. It is more about having a relationship, valuing a partnership. We are human and make mistakes, and we need to be accepting.” She was also the president of the Crummer Women Executives and Entrepreneurs group, so she has additional advice for women who wish to become entrepreneurs: “Don’t hold back. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.” Fredrik added, “Every boss told her she couldn’t do it” when referring to Tiffani opening her own CPA business. She certainly proved them wrong, and other women should do the same as well.  

The Lindstroms are still involved with Crummer, recently attending the Alumni Winter Social among other things. Tiffani enjoys keeping up her Crummer relationships and being a mentor. “It’s important to give back, to pay it forward from what you’ve learned.” Fredrik related that he appreciates seeing the evolution of the school over time. If Fredrik’s and Tiffani’s career trajectories are an indication of potential success for Crummer students, the future is certainly bright.  

To get started on your Crummer MBA journey like the Lindstroms, check out our upcoming admissions events.