March 30, 2020
Moore School MBA and UofSC alumna Caroline Brown (’11 UofSC public relations, ’19 MBA) earned a new role with the Medical University of South Carolina as chief external affairs officer after she completed her MBA last year.
Before being promoted to chief external affairs officer, Brown was the director of external affairs and special assistant to the president and previously was a manager for external affairs. In her four years with MUSC, Brown said she knew she needed to get a graduate degree to be able to advance in her career. She said the return on investment of the MBA has already been realized.
“Without the MBA, it would have been difficult to continue to progress in my career and especially to earn a role in the c-suite [chief suite],” Brown said.
She chose to participate in the Professional MBA program so she could keep career momentum and maintain her full-time position. She said the networking she was able to do with her classmates in the program was extremely beneficial.
“The program facilitates meeting other working professionals in a variety of industries that have a common purpose,” she said. “The relationships you foster, the business language you learn to speak and the credibility you build through excelling at the curriculum make the program worth doing.”
Grateful to be part of a top 20 Professional MBA program, Brown said the Moore School program that allows part-time coursework and distance learning “guaranteed that I didn’t miss any formative professional experiences, slow down my growth trajectory or lose earning potential. Several members of the faculty in the program served as wonderful educators, mentors and advisors throughout the process and even now.”
Brown is putting the lessons she learned in the Professional MBA program to practice, said Laura B. Cardinal, one of Brown’s professors in the program and the SmartState Endowed Chair and director for the Center for Innovation + Commercialization.
“As a professor of strategy and innovation, I stress to my students the importance of collaborative linkages between different stakeholders for driving innovative outcomes,” Cardinal said. “It is so rewarding to hear about [Brown’s] new promotion. She lives the frameworks I teach in [my courses] every day in her new role. She is the right person with the right background for her new role and position.”
Brown said the Professional MBA program helped prepare her for her current role as chief external affairs officer.
“The Professional MBA program helped round out my business acumen and ensured that I can speak the language of colleagues and external partners who work in essential functional areas including finance, operations, marketing and quality,” she said. “The Professional MBA program helped me improve my negotiation and leadership skills which I use on a daily basis to influence decisions and create partnerships, affiliations and joint ventures with outside groups.”
In her current position, Brown oversees MUSC’s partnership strategy for the university and health system, from industry partnerships with companies like Siemens Healthineers and Medtronic and collaborations with other universities to economic development and business engagement at the local, state and regional levels, she said.
In addition to her work for MUSC, Brown also serves on the board of directors for SCBIO, “a statewide, not-for-profit, public/private life sciences industry association and economic development organization formed to actively promote, build, support, expand and convene South Carolina’s life sciences industry,” according to the SCBIO website.
Brown said serving on the SCBIO board complements her job duties with MUSC.
“My role at MUSC includes helping the state of South Carolina recruit life science and biotechnology companies to locate to the state, which helps us build a diverse, knowledge-based economy,” she said. “Having companies from that sector in the state also increases the chances for a partnership opportunity with MUSC. When SCBIO began to grow and evolve and take a lead role in elevating the life science industry in South Carolina, I knew I wanted to get more involved.”
Before her work at MUSC, Brown spent several years working in government and politics -- both on Capitol Hill and for congressional, U.S. Senate and presidential campaigns.
“Those roles, which included strategy, finance and fundraising, taught me a lot about building relationships, negotiation, influence and teamwork,” she said. “Those soft skills translate well to more traditional business roles because leaders not only need to understand their subject matter or business but also must master how to inspire others to get things done and innovate at the same time.”
Brown said those soft skills were further developed when she was enrolled in the Professional MBA program.
“If you’re considering an MBA and think it will help advance your career or personal goals, start now,” she said. “The time is going to pass regardless, and you will be so glad you didn’t wait any longer to begin your journey.”