Sept. 17, 2019
First year Moore School International MBA candidate Caroline Wright chose earlier this year to leave her position as a brand manager for Pinnacle Foods, a company that includes brands like Mrs. Butterworth’s and Log Cabin Syrup, to pursue her IMBA.
Pinnacle Foods was recently sold to Conagra Brands. As part of the acquisition, Pinnacle Foods’ employees were asked to move to either Conagra’s Chicago or Omaha, Nebraska, office from Pinnacle’s Parsippany, New Jersey, headquarters, so the takeover encouraged Wright to enroll in the IMBA program after already mulling it over for several years.
Already armed with a bachelor’s in international business and sports marketing from Saint Joseph’s University, Wright’s resume includes more than three years with RB, which contains brands like Lysol, Mucinex and Clearasil, and close to four years with Pinnacle Foods. In her last two years with Pinnacle, she was the marketing lead for the syrups portfolio, leading campaigns for Mrs. Butterworth’s, Log Cabin and Country Kitchen.
“As a brand manager, I owned and led my businesses from a financial, brand equity and innovation development perspective,” she said. “I had an impact on internal decisions made to progress the brands forward as well as an impact on how consumers engaged with the brand in their daily lives.”
Working her way up through two international health and food companies, Wright realized her growth potential in any company would be limited without an MBA.
“I have always known getting my MBA would be necessary to propel my career forward, but my aha moment was when I was informed that although I had a great career history and strong performance record within my current and prior roles, I would be limited in promotions and growth roles moving forward because I did not have an MBA,” she said.
After extensive research, Wright picked the Moore School because of its international reputation, including its No. 1 U.S. News & World Report ranking for the International MBA. As part of the global track in the IMBA program, Wright is specializing in marketing and is working toward certificates in data analytics and global strategy.
“I was looking for an internationally focused program, and the Darla Moore School of Business came up as a top-ranked option,” she said. “Additionally, the mission of the Moore School and the values exemplified by the university resonate with who I am as an individual and what I am seeking to be part of as a student.”
Wright is the kind of student who makes the MBA program better, said Jeffrey Rehling, Moore School lecturer and director for the Center for Marketing Solutions.
“I was fortunate to meet [Wright] when she was exploring the idea of a full-time MBA and remember saying to my colleagues that she is perfect for our program,” Rehling said. “The combination of a successful undergraduate program, very strong work experience and a purpose-driven personality is exactly what we look for in UofSC IMBA students. Her experience and natural curiosity not only make for a great student but pushes us as professors, which in turn elevates the entire program. That's why we're the number one IMBA program; great students lead to stronger faculty, which drives a more impactful curriculum that ultimately results in better student outcomes. In other words, Caroline is the type of student that is not only learning from us, but we are learning from her."
A few months into the program, Wright said her experience has been wonderful so far.
“The International MBA program is challenging, engaging and fast-paced,” she said. “Furthermore, the makeup of our cohort class includes smart, talented individuals with diverse and impressive backgrounds and skillsets. Every day I learn something new and continue to build stronger skills and networks.”
Wright selected the international component for her degree because of her passion for and desire to learn more about global experiences and perspectives.
“With the IMBA program at South Carolina, a global perspective is core to the structure and focus while being enhanced with specific career tracks, global immersion opportunities and key certifications for a truly well-rounded and expansive MBA experience,” she said. “Additionally, the reputation of the IMBA program from an education perspective as well as a support network is unmatched.”
Wright spent a summer studying abroad in London as an undergraduate but looks forward to spending the spring 2021 semester abroad as part of the IMBA program. The location for her international immersion experience has not yet been determined.
“For my abroad experience next year, I hope to gain better insights into the country, the culture and the business environment I will be living in,” she said. “Leveraging these broadened perspectives and enhanced knowledge, I can further develop existing proficiencies while creating new skillsets. Additionally, I hope to gain further exposure to different thought processes and ways of working within the business environment.”
Once she spends her semester abroad and completes the International MBA program, Wright said she intends to work with a multinational company in a marketing or global strategy position and work toward an eventual international rotation and upper management position.
“An MBA from the Moore School will further develop not only your business acumen but how you engage with other individuals professionally and personally, how you perceive the world and how you ultimately make decisions to drive effective change,” Wright said. “The job skills and life skills woven throughout the program ensure the development of a world class, well-rounded business professional with the know-how to take action and own their deliverables.”