2015 Best EMBAs: Patti Fitzpatrick

Patti Fitzpatrick

Patti Fitzpatrick


Texas A&M, Mays Business School

Patti Fitzpatrick knows something about making a transition. An accountant by trade, Fitzpatrick had climbed through the ranks of Spectra Energy to become the general manager for marketing. Nearing 50, she could easily have bided her time. Impressed by the MBAs who came into Spectra, she took a leap of faith and pursued her Executive MBA degree at Mays. As Julie Orzabal, the school’s director of the executive MBA program notes, “Patti came to the EMBA program with all the ingredients of a successful business leader; she just needed a way to deepen and blend her education with her experience.” Consider this just another successful transition for Fitzpatrick. Long term, she plans to remain with Spectra Energy, while looking to take on board responsibilities at other companies.

Age: 50

Location: Houston, TX

Family Members: Ray (Husband), Faith (Daughter), Weston (Son)

Undergraduate School: University of Houston – Victoria

Undergraduate Degree: BSBA – Accounting

Where are you currently working? Spectra Energy Corp, General Manager (Marketing)

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…several years back when we started hiring all these intelligent young people who had MBA’s. I always liked school and I wanted to challenge myself to the same thing!”

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…spending every weekend at the lake on our boat or with my feet propped up in a lounge chair!”

What are your long-term professional goals? I intend on staying with Spectra Energy to help ensure the continued success of the company. Eventually, my goal is to sit on the Board of Directors for a couple of companies.

Favorite Courses: Finance, Marketing, and Leadership

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? I was part of the Investor Relations team when Spectra Energy was launched on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2007. It was a rewarding experience to trek the U.S. with the Senior Executives and inform investors about our wonderful company. Participation in the NYSE opening bell-ringing on the first day of trading was pretty awesome as well!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? First, I want to thank my husband, because he kept everything running at home for two years when I was laser-focused on school. Second, I want to thank my boss. He is a huge proponent of education and inspired me to ‘go for it’ when I expressed interest in an EMBA program. He has been my leading supporter and encourager for the past two years.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? I did my research and knew that the Executive MBA Program at Texas A&M was highly-rated. Furthermore, the EMBA staff at Texas A&M was always helpful and responsive when I began my inquiry process. My interview with Julie Orzabal (the director of the program) sealed the deal. She was very welcoming, made me feel at ease, and encouraged me to complete the application. I knew Texas A&M was the perfect fit for me.

What did you enjoy most about the executive MBA program? I enjoyed meeting and getting to know each and every one of my classmates. It was an honor to share the past two years with this intelligent group of individuals. Every person had something unique that they brought to the program and I learned so much from their contributions.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? One evening, one of our team members informed us that he was going to quit the program after just one semester. In fact, he had already notified the director of the program of his withdrawal. After a lengthy conversation, we convinced him to stick with it. I committed to help him as much as I could. It felt great to lift him up and provide the encouragement that he needed at that moment. He successfully completed the program and I am so proud of his accomplishment!

Fun fact about yourself: I grew up in a town of about 500 people!

Favorite book: I haven’t read a book for pleasure in about two years but my favorite book in the MBA program was True North by Bill George.

Favorite movie: The Notebook

Favorite musical performer: George Strait

Favorite television show: I haven’t really watched much TV in two years, so I don’t have a favorite!

Favorite vacation spot: The Caribbean

What are your hobbies? Spending time with family, fishing, boating, and creating projects I find on Pinterest.

Twitter Handle: @pefitzpatrick

What made Patti such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015 for your executive MBA program?

“Patti Fitzpatrick is the ideal candidate for an Executive MBA Program award. Beginning with an educational background in accounting, she progressed through her career by going the extra mile, taking on increasing responsibility, and she is now actually managing markets for her organization. Patti came to the EMBA program with all the ingredients of a successful business leader; she just needed a way to deepen and blend her education with her experience. It’s truly rewarding to see EMBA participants emerge from the program with a renewed sense of confidence. Patti has been described as quiet and understated yet confident and powerful. She is diligent, disciplined, tenacious, yet humble. There is no doubt that Patti Fitzpatrick is now poised for higher-level leadership positions and has the tools and confidence to succeed in making significant contributions to her organization.”

– Julie Orzabal, Director, Executive MBA Program


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