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Darla Moore School of Business

International MBA alumnus uses data analytics knowledge to stand out in multinational corporation

Jan. 15, 2020

Moore School International MBA alumnus Brennan Dobbins (’18 IMBA) took his undergraduate engineering background and combined it with a top-ranked IMBA to launch a successful career as a senior strategy project manager for Lenovo’s data center group.

Lenovo is an international technology company with dual headquarters in Beijing, China, and Raleigh, North Carolina. As part of the IMBA program, Dobbins spent a year and a half living in Beijing, China. He considers himself conversational in Chinese and said the experience has proven beneficial in conversations with his Lenovo China colleagues, partners and customers.

“Living in Beijing was a life-changing experience that gave me the opportunity to really throw myself into a completely different culture, technology & business practice realm,” he said. “Beijing is one of the 10 largest cities in the world, with one of the fastest developing technology and investment ecosystems. People work hard, companies move fast and the city literally 'hums' 24 hours a day. There're not too many places in the world where you walk to a street corner and can look across at a 50+ floor skyscraper then look to your left at a 3000-year-old temple.”

Dobbins, who also obtained a graduate certificate in business analytics from the Moore School, works in Lenovo’s Raleigh, North Carolina, headquarters and builds business strategies to create solutions and service options for Lenovo’s customers to optimize their customers’ experiences. He said their solutions are composed of hardware products like servers, storage and networking equipment combined with application and management software.

“The best part of being in strategy for Lenovo is that there is always a new problem to solve or work towards solving founded on market movements or fluctuations in the global business environment,” Dobbins said. “Every day is different. Our team is a support function and strives to be a trusted partner for the executive leaders in building functional strategies for each of our business segments.”

Dobbins also project manages the data center strategy review process to execute business objectives towards Lenovo’s long-term strategic plans, he said.

“First we'll work with the leaders to answer some 'big' questions about our business. Then, we derive objectives and tactical items to drive as a business, coming back later to measure up against how we did,” Dobbins added. “It's a lot of fun, but it's serious work and part of this process is to challenge our team's thinking by asking the right, sometimes controversial, questions and guiding the dialogues to tell the right stories for convincing stakeholders to make good decisions for the business.”

One key aspect in all of Dobbins’ work for Lenovo is data analysis. He said the Moore School’s graduate certificate in business analytics has given him a leg up at Lenovo with his ability to take data and find meaning in it.

“Data, intelligent automation, transformation, etc., will be a top concern and focus for most executives and business leaders for the next decade,” he said. “It's an invaluable skill that I'm very happy I had the opportunity to dig into during my time in the IMBA program, and I work on growing from that foundation every day I have the chance.”

Dobbins said the return on investment for his International MBA has been especially rewarding.

“I completely changed career paths and trajectories by tackling the International MBA. I made friends and professional contacts all over the world in the process,” he said. “I don’t think you can measure this kind of ROI purely in dollars. I would not have the attitude I have today as well as the appreciation and perspective on global business that I try to embody in my work at Lenovo without the opportunities provided during my MBA.”

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