MBA@UNC Graduate: Dr. Julie Goodliffe

Dr. Julie Goodliffe was a professor at UNC Charlotte when she started the MBA@UNC program. Having enjoyed a successful academic research career in molecular genetics, she realized that she had gone as far as she could in academia. With a desire to explore ways to use her science background in business, she started looking at MBA programs. “When I learned that UNC-Chapel Hill had this new online program, I knew it was exactly what I needed to do,” Goodliffe says. “The program features the same faculty, the same curriculum and the same expectations as the full-time, on-campus program. Knowing that it was a high-quality program that I could do in Charlotte really sold me.” Inspired by the projects that were part of the curriculum, she left UNC Charlotte halfway through the program to start a new business with two partners. Sustainable Ethanol Technologies (SET) is a biofuels company that offers the technology to produce an advanced biofuel inexpensively and sustainably. “Academic scientists have ideas all the time that could change the world, but rarely do they actually act on them. We do the research and publish our findings, but we never create a plan to execute,” Goodliffe explains. MBA@UNC gave Goodliffe a framework for creating that plan.

“This idea seemed like it could actually make an impact in the world and it was doable. Through my coursework I already was developing things like marketing plans and assessing costs. In sharing this idea with my fellow students — all smart people with business backgrounds — I was getting such positive feedback. So I thought, why not?”

With graduation on the horizon, Goodliffe is looking forward to focusing on her new company.

“Making a career transition was a personal goal of mine,” says Goodliffe. “I was looking to find something that would interest and challenge me the way my science career did. MBA@UNC helped me achieve that.”