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Darla Moore School of Business

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MBA provides upward trajectory for former insurance executive

Moore School alumnus Charlie Bagwell (’20 MBA) enrolled in the Professional MBA program to further develop his business skillset while also continuing to grow in his career and support his family.

Bagwell started the Professional MBA program in 2018 while living in Greenville, South Carolina, and working at Palmetto Associates, a local independent insurance agency, as a property and casualty insurance advisor.

“In order to reach my career goals, I knew I needed to obtain the knowledge that an MBA provides,” Bagwell said. “I want to be a [chief financial officer] eventually. Before the degree, I didn’t have the development needed to be prepared for an opportunity like that.”

However, Bagwell also knew that he didn’t want to put his career on hold in order to go back to school. When he discovered the Moore School Professional MBA program, he knew that it was the perfect fit.

The Professional MBA program “provides the best format and schedule for a working professional with a family,” he said. “The classes and professors are the best in South Carolina. It allows for specializations to hone in on technical skills, which is something I was focused on obtaining through my degree. Lastly, it’s ranked No. 1 in the state and is in the top 25 in the nation, so the marketability of it is there — which is a big deal when planning your career path. Choosing the Darla Moore School of Business for my degree was the easiest decision I had to make after committing to pursuing my MBA.”

During his time in the Moore School Professional MBA program, Bagwell was able to specialize his degree in finance as well as complete the Business Analytics Graduate Certificate. Bagwell said by doing this, he was able to strengthen his business skills and concentrate on a subject that interests him.

“The most valuable lessons I learned were centered around financial best practices and stewardship, how to analyze and interpret datasets and how to intensely focus and hustle to accomplish so much in such a short amount of time,” he said. “I didn’t realize I had a ‘gear’ like I modeled for the two years within the program excelling in my classes, in my job and at home.”

Since graduating from the Professional MBA program in 2020, Bagwell started a new position as a strategic financial consultant at Fiserv, a global financial services technology company. In this role, which is primarily project based, he acts as an internal consultant by identifying strategic initiatives to drive and forecast revenue as well as cut expenses within the Account Processing Business Unit.

“Coming into the PMBA program, I knew I wanted to pursue corporate financial leadership and have the ability to lead at a high level, while understanding finance and being able to make data-driven decisions,” he said. “Without this program, I wouldn’t have the education needed to steward that level of responsibility. It’s given me the career trajectory I was desiring, the acumen needed to handle what I am going for, and it opened the door to the opportunity I wanted to pursue.”

Bagwell said although it was difficult juggling school, family-life and work at the same time, it was well worth it in the end because he now gets to do what he loves for a living.

“You have to be willing to move at a pace that’s unsustainable for a long period of time but can be done for the length of the program. You also have to say ‘no’ to most extra activities outside of work, family and school for a while,” he said. “It’s short-term pain for long-term gain. It’s worth it.”

As a recent alumnus of the program, Bagwell encourages others to pursue an MBA degree at the Moore School to help them achieve their professional goals.

“I’d encourage everyone who’s considering their MBA to first decide where they want to be long-term,” he said. “For me, it made 100 percent sense, so the investment will pay for itself exponentially over my lifetime. If it makes sense for you, that will be your story as well, and all the time, effort and money will be worth it.”

-Claire McGrath


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