Flexible MBA students take flight to Houston

A group of Carey Business School Flexible MBA students visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center to build on their innovative leadership knowledge.

group of people sitting and standing posing for photo in front of johnson space center logo

In March, a group of Flexible MBA students traveled to Houston, TX with the Center for Innovative Leadership to tour NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

The students learned about NASA’s innovative leadership techniques and heard stories from Flight Director Courtenay McMillan and Astronaut Luca Parmitano. Takeaways from the experience included how to guide teams with empathy through challenging environments, and working as a team in unity. The students also had the opportunity to tour Mission Control, the Neutral Buoyancy Lab, and the Vehicle Mock-Up facility.

We heard from current student Enzo Ochoga (MBA ’26) on her experience visiting NASA. Ochoga is currently a Global Health Professional at HerWai Inc.

Q: What leadership skills did you learn and/or strengthen during the trip?

Ochoga: I learned the importance of clear and concise communication–particularly in high-pressure environments–from Flight Director, Courtenay McMillan. For context, the collaborative process of how teams at NASA execute tasks was inspiring, as it strengthened my own team-building capabilities and highlighted the importance of leveraging diverse skill sets while leading with emotional intelligence.

Q: Reflecting on the stories shared by NASA professionals, what insights or skills did you take away from their experiences?

Ochoga: I was inspired by Astronaut Luca Parmitano’s discussion, which highlighted the power of empathy and resilience when leading a team. It reinforced the notion that setbacks are opportunities to learn more about factors we did not know existed, and using empathy to understand the teams we work with shapes our creative decisions for the better. The balance of emotion and logic leads to positive change.

Q: What skills from the trip can you immediately apply back to your organization?

Ochoga: I intend to apply the communication techniques I observed at NASA to streamline my weekly leadership project meetings. I will aim for brief, focused updates and encourage clear follow-up on action items. The goal is to have a cohesive and effective team, and it takes carrying the team along to make that happen.

Q: Why did you choose to participate in an in-person experience as an online student?

Ochoga: While I value the flexibility of online courses, I felt the on-site activities the Center for Innovative Leadership hosted in collaboration with NASA would provide a richer, experiential learning environment that’s harder to replicate remotely. And it most definitely did provide a rich hands-on learning experience.

What is the Center for Innovative Leadership?

The Center for Innovative Leadership at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School is a hub for new ideas and insights on leadership, combining faculty-led research, student-facing programming, and community-focused impact. CIL aims to advance knowledge and build capacity for innovative leadership in modern organizations.

Carey’s Flexible MBA students have the opportunity to further develop their innovative leadership through the CIL’s Profiles in Leadership Program–a series of engagements with high profile leaders and organizations who are recognized for their unique and impactful leadership strategies that translate into business success, team performance, and positive social change.

large screen in nasa mission control room with computers
NASA pool with underwater device
people standing in front of pool smiling for picture
two people talking in front of a control screen

PHOTOGRAPHER: Josh Valcarcel

nasa robot walking
control center with four large screens


Upcoming Carey application deadlines

Please visit our upcoming deadlines webpage to view all application, decision, and deposit deadlines.