The ‘Who’, ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of Two First-Year MBA Students

Get to know these two first-year Jenkins MBA students, including why they decided to earn their MBA, what they hope to achieve, and what they think about starting this new chapter of their lives under the unusual circumstances of 2020.

Charlie Keeley, first-year Jenkins MBA student

Charlie Keeley

What is your professional background? 

“I have worked in commercial banking for the last five years. I started as a Credit Analyst at United Bank in Washington, DC right after I graduated from Wofford and worked there for three years. My next step took me to Raleigh to work as a Commercial Portfolio Manager with South State Bank for the next year and a half, before being rehired by United Bank in the same role in Raleigh in early 2020. In my roles as a Credit Analyst and Portfolio Manager I had the opportunity to be involved in the underwriting and approval process, as well as business development, for loans to a wide variety of companies across the Bank’s footprints.”

Why did you decide to pursue your MBA?

“It provided the best avenue to switch careers. I enjoyed my career in commercial banking but felt that my future lied in supply chain management, and pursuing my MBA was the best path forward.”

Why did you choose NC State to earn your MBA?

“I chose NC State for a few reasons, the first and most important of which was the strength and reputation of the supply chain management program. Throughout my research, both online and talking with people familiar with the supply chain program, it was clear that it would provide a solid foundation of knowledge and skills to start out in the industry. Another big selling point is its location in Raleigh. I have lived in Raleigh for the last two years and it has been a great place to call home.”

“Finally, I chose NC State because I come from a family of Wolfpackers.  My father and grandfather both graduated from NC State (undergrad) and always had great things to say about their experiences here. I went to the Gator Bowl when I was about 8 weeks old, so I have been a fan for as long as I can remember!”

What do you hope to learn about (or improve on) in the area of supply chain management?

“I am new to supply chain field, so I am eager to learn as much as I can in the next two years. Having a strong supply chain is one of the most important things for any organization, and I look forward to learning about all aspects of it and how each contribute to a company’s overall success.”

What is the number one thing you hope to get out of your student experience?

“Enhancing and honing my ability to work as part of a team. Much like a successful supply chain involves many different parts/roles working together towards one goal, I see a successful MBA experience as one where I have improved myself, but more importantly helped improve my classmates as well. Fortunately, I can already tell through one week of knowing the group that I am part of a strong class of professionals who are eager to make a difference while in school and in the years after. I look forward to learning from them and working with them in a team setting.”

How do you feel about starting classes under the unusual circumstances of this year?

“It is weird to say the least – but what isn’t in 2020! I think obviously everyone would rather be in person for class, but the response from the school and MBA staff so far has been fantastic.  They really haven’t missed a beat and have proved very flexible in helping us through starting under these circumstances.”

Brendan Neville, first-year Jenkins MBA student

Brendan Neville

What is your professional background? 

“I graduated from NC State in 2016 with a BS in Sport Management with minors in Business Administration and Coaching Education. From 2016 to 2018 I served as the Assistant General Manager for the Martinsville Mustangs Baseball team in Martinsville, Virginia before transitioning to my most recent role as a supply chain planner for Static Control Components where I worked until 2020.”

Why did you decide to pursue your MBA?

“I decided to transition out of the sport industry because I decided that what I wanted out of my career was not compatible with a long career in sports. I knew that to get where I wanted to go in my new field and to make the biggest impact possible, I needed to get my MBA.”

Why did you choose NC State to earn your MBA?

“The Jenkins MBA has so many great things going for it. From my undergraduate studies I was already familiar with NC State and knew how great the quality of education was that I would be able to get here. Additionally, the Jenkins MBA prides itself on its students getting a big return on their investment. Whenever you decide to pursue a higher degree you are making a huge investment in yourself with the hopes that it will pay off in the future. It was so great to see that NC State understands the investment its students are making and has numbers to back up how quickly that investment pays itself off. To top it all off, NC State is considered one of the top Supply Chain schools in the entire country. This year Gartner ranked the Jenkins MBA’s Supply Chain Concentration as the number 10 supply chain graduate program in the country. As a supply chain professional, it was huge for me to know that I will be learning from the best during my time in the program.”

What do you hope to learn about (or improve on) in the area of supply chain management?

“One of the great things about supply chain is how many different facets it has. I have experience working in the inventory planning/management function of supply chain, but I would love to get some more exposure to the other functions of supply chain such as global logistics, finished goods distribution, or strategic sourcing.”

What is the number one thing you hope to get out of your student experience?

“There are a lot of great people that are involved with this program. One of the major things I hope to get out of my student experience is the ability to make connections with all these great people on both a professional and a personal level.”

How do you feel about starting classes under the unusual circumstances of this year?

“We are living in crazy, unprecedented times. Personally, I learn better and tend to get more out of the classroom experience in person rather than an online setting. Unfortunately, due to COVID I will be spending less time on campus and more time in front of my computer than I originally envisioned. Additionally, many of the networking events that are so key to the MBA experience are going to be moving over to online formats as well, which is something brand new for many of these events. While it was very easy to psych myself out over all these changes that are happening right now, I have taken a lot of comfort in the fact that I am not going through this alone. Students across the country are dealing with these same changes and challenges. With the support of my fellow students and the faculty and staff of the Jenkins MBA program, I have no doubt that we will be able to tackle these challenges and come out of the other side stronger for it.”

 

This post was originally published in Supply Chain Resource Cooperative.