An Engineer's Perspective: Why MBA@UNC?

As part of the inaugural class of MBA@UNC, I’m almost half way towards receiving my MBA.

I can’t believe how quickly it has gone. I’m into my fourth set of classes, currently focusing on finance and marketing with a global perspective.  Life has also gotten crazy with child number three on the way! I thought I’d share my take on the MBA@UNC program from an engineer’s point of view. 

When I applied to this program a little over a year ago, I did so with the idea that I would be able to better understand my business and position myself to move up the corporate ladder.  Being certain that I didn’t want to stay in the trenches doing engineering work during my career, MBA@UNC seemed like a good opportunity to build my knowledge and resume. 

I can honestly say it has done both. I already am poised to make my next move within the corporate ranks: I am being promoted to a manager in my company. When I interviewed for the position, I had a plan in mind for what I would accomplish in this role and effectively articulated how I would bring success to the department.  I give a great deal of credit for this win to my MBA@UNC classes, most notably operations, finance and the leadership immersion last December.

I know I will be successful in this new role, in part because I have gained a greater conceptual knowledge base on topics such as inventory management, time cost of money, operational efficiency and effectiveness. Perhaps more important than these quantitative tools are the lessons I have learned about how to lead, communicate and organize activities to transform our organization. 

I have always been able to rationalize concepts and make logical decisions, but that will only go so far.  At the end of the day, being able to motivate others is the mark of a leader; -- a key to success in the corporate environment.  It is in these areas where my learning with MBA@UNC has been eye opening.  The leadership development activities, group projects and focus provided by this program already have improved my leadership and communication skills.  I expect to continue honing these skills over the remaining year at UNC Kenan-Flagler.

About Brian Edwards: Brian is a 32-year-old father of two, moonlighting as a materials engineer.  When he is not at work or working on his MBA, he spends his free time playing with his children, relaxing with his wife, or doing yard work at his house. Brian  works  for a metals producer in the Charlotte, N.C., area. Previously he worked  for a defense contractor in Arlington, Va., and the U.S. Army Research Laboratories in Aberdeen, Md.