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Darla Moore School of Business

Veteran combines military skills with Moore School MBA degree to land challenging supply chain position

Nov. 7, 2019

Moore School alumnus K. Derrick Brosius transformed a military career into a successful business career with the help of the Professional MBA program. Brosius, who is a Synovos site manager at a factory in Simpsonville, South Carolina, leads a team that manages clients’ supply chain processes with the goals of reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. Essentially, Synovos’ site managers are entrusted with almost complete autonomy to make decisions regarding their specific site’s performance and the relationship with each client.

Before working with Synovos, Brosius spent more than 13 years serving with the Marines as an Arabic cryptologic linguist and as a Signals Intelligence officer; he is currently continuing to serve as a Signals Intelligence officer for the Marines Corps Forces Reserve.

He took a break from the military between 2008-2010 to get his bachelor’s from USC in political science and government while working as a Staff Sergeant in the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps on campus. Brosius continued as an active duty Marine for four years after graduating before transitioning into the private sector and becoming a reservist. He decided to enroll in the USC Professional MBA program to make him more competitive in the business world.

“The Moore School Professional MBA is the ideal program for any veteran seeking new capabilities in your current career or opportunities for advancement and growth regardless of whether you decide to remain in the military or not,” Brosius said. “The skills acquired from the PMBA program are immediately translatable in any environment. I've secured a career outside of the military with the help of this program, but I've also continued my military career by leveraging skills learned at the Moore School to create workable budgets, project future expenses and create mission statements and departmental strategies that are understandable, relatable and realistic.”

When Brosius was looking at which MBA program was the best fit for him, he chose the Moore School because of its prestige and flexibility.

“The program had enough hands-on and in-person instruction to bridge the gap between my lack of business experience and desire to excel in a corporation,” he said. “I knew a purely online degree would not be the right option for me because I lacked the skills and experience in data interpolation and analysis. A program like the PMBA that required Saturday sessions in person was ideal for my situation.”

Brosius graduated from the PMBA program in December 2018 and began working with Synovos a month later. He credits his MBA with helping him secure his position as a site manager.

“I cannot be certain this degree was the reason I was offered the position, but it is undeniably the reason I still have it,” he said. “Upon arrival, I was expected to be familiar with pivot tables, linear regression calculations and forecasts – in essence I was expected to extract data from a customer's system of record and interpret it for them from day one whilst knowing nothing of the sub-industry in which I had just arrived. 

“Additionally, Synovos operates largely within a client's physical space and digital apparatus so a site manager is also the company's local marketing manager, IT generalist, HR representative and ambassador with the client; in essence: a small business owner within a larger business that holds the supreme power of scrutiny.”

Brosius said the return on his investment in the Professional MBA program has been immediately evident.

“The Moore School provides a certain intangible clout that other programs do not have,” he said. “I noticed an immediate increase in responses to interview requests following the addition of the Moore School association on my resume and accounts. It has also added undeniable technical and analytical skills to my business conscientiousness.”

With his experience in military Signals Intelligence, a specialized field heavy in data analysis, combined with the data analytic skills and business prowess he gained from the Moore School, Brosius said he applies what he learned in the military and in the PMBA program daily in his job with Synovos.

“The immediate translation of these skills into my new environment came as a bit of a shock,” he said. “We are required to maintain a very high level of on-time delivery percentage, inventory accuracy, material purchase savings and total cost of ownership savings through special projects. In short, we are an integrated distributor esteemed in the procurement of tools and repair parts.”

While challenging, the complicated supply chain processes Brosius uses daily in his work with Synovos are manageable because of the skills he gained from the Professional MBA program.

“Essentially, all soft and technical skills applied to running a highly-technical small business can be attributed to my MBA,” he said. “My experience with the PMBA program is 100 percent positive, and I cannot say enough good about it. It has unlocked doors for me that I was not even aware existed.”


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