MBA@UNC Graduate: D'Andre Payne

“Being in R&D, I’m always looking to try to new things,” says D’Andre Payne. “That’s how I felt about MBA@UNC. I thought, let’s see how this new program works out — it worked out great!” With an undergraduate degree in chemistry, Payne worked as a scientist in the pharmaceuticals industry for more than 10 years. In very simple terms, he “comes up with the formula that goes on the back of the labels.” While most of his work has been in research development, he always was curious about the business side of his work. “While working at Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, I became interested in why certain business decisions were made and the overall impact they had on the company,” Payne says. “I knew I wanted to go to business school; it was more a matter of when.” Payne learned about the program from a report in The Economist while living in Sandwich, England.

“I really liked that MBA@UNC was an innovative new program that was online, but not your typical online program. The live classes and the immersions really made it different.”

“The fact that we had live classes every week was a big selling point for me,” he says. “It gave me the opportunity to interact and connect with my professors and fellow students.”

The Global Immersions were his favorite part of the program, “having the opportunity to go somewhere, learn something and meet your fellow classmates and cohorts face-to-face – that’s something you can’t get from any other online program.” he says.

“They’re almost like a family reunion — you have fun, but you work hard and learn a lot.” At the very first immersion, which took place in Chapel Hill about six months after he started MBA@UNC, he “knew I had made the right choice about this particular program. While I was meeting everyone for the first time, I didn’t feel like we were strangers at all. It was like we had known each other for years. I think we will all continue to be friends after graduation.”

When asked what advice he would give a friend considering the program he says, “It’s not a typical online program. If you think it’s going to be easy, you’re mistaken. It’s rigorous, but it’s worth it.”

With graduation around the corner, Payne is looking forward to exploring new prospects — in the pharmaceutical industry and beyond “MBA@UNC gave me the tools I need to be successful and get where I need to go. I’m ready to put them to work.”