Professional MBA alumni networked and helped each other in Greenville and other regional classrooms
The Professional MBA program offers more than a virtual option for full-time professionals to earn their MBA. Evening and weekend classes are taught at the Moore School in Columbia and delivered in real time to eight regional classrooms in South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. While students can communicate with their professors via two-way video conferencing technology, they are able to be in the classroom with their city’s classmates. This in-person interaction enriches the learning and networking students can experience. They can help one another relate to their struggle to balance a full-time job, a family or personal life and the PMBA program. They can play off one another’s strengths and collaborate on group projects.
For four recent PMBA graduates, the Greenville PMBA in-person and live video-conferencing
options helped them to bond, support one another trying to balance added responsibilities
and augmented the skills they were learning in the program. Read on for their experience
in the PMBA program.
Why did you choose the Moore School to get your PMBA?
Jay Benton, Vice President at Innovative Manufacturing & Design, ‘23 PMBA: I’m a Gamecock at heart and received my B.S. in mechanical engineering from USC. The Moore School is very well known for its business program. The ease of access to the Greenville campus was also a major factor, as I wanted to attend somewhere where I could interact with other students.
Benjamin Davis, Director of Inside Sales at Michelin North America, ‘22 PMBA: I chose the Moore School due to its reputation as one of the top 25 MBA programs, as well as positive recommendations from colleagues at Michelin. A lot of people I know previously completed and recommended the program. My original intention in pursuing my PMBA was to further develop myself personally and professionally.
Travis Lee Jones, Planning Manager at AFL, ‘22 PMBA: I chose the Moore School for two reasons. The first reason was the brand recognition the Darla Moore School of Business has in the professional and business environment of the United States. The second reason was the flexibility that the PMBA program, which allows students to work full time while getting an MBA.
Daniel Garrett, Data Analytics Engineer at Dodge Industrial, ‘22 PMBA: I chose the Moore School because of the option for the Business Analytics Graduate
Certificate and the PMBA site locations around the state. Also, the affordable tuition
What support did you receive from your fellow students in the Greenville PMBA cohort? How did you build your network while in the PMBA program?
Benton: We had a fantastic group that all started around fall 2020. We learned a lot from each other and felt comfortable asking questions and conversing on different topics. I ended up going the finance specialization route, and they went the business analytics way, however we kept in touch and tried to take classes together when able. To be honest, this group made the experience much more fulfilling, as we encouraged one another and developed good friendships.
Davis: When we started the program in September 2021, we were just coming out of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, and being able to go to class in person was a huge benefit to me. Although we did have a few spells where we had to be remote, I tried my best to be in the classroom each week (business travel sometimes prevents this). The five other individuals I believe will tell you the same thing about attending class in person. As we all started at the same time and had core classes together, we quickly became friends, and I honestly looked forward to seeing the group. Although we were not always together in a group for projects, at least one of us often was, which really helped. Other students came and went or decided to be remote, but we stuck to class. This I truly believe helped motivate me to attend. I do not think I would have enjoyed the program as much if it wasn’t for the group and being together in class. The group dynamics allowed us to bounce ideas and thoughts off each other during class and when in groups and provided familiar faces that I trusted and enjoyed working with. It was also motivating to hear how the others were using the skills learned and using them to grow their careers.
Jones: The support from fellow students came from inside and outside of the classroom. Inside the classroom, you can leverage other students’ professional experience to assist with collaborative group projects. Students come from many different industries, and being able to leverage all of their experience and skillsets was vital to our success. Outside of the classroom, fellow students provided a support system while balancing schoolwork, a personal life and work. My network was built through going to class in person and not going virtually. Virtual classrooms were vital when work conflicts arose that did not allow for in-class attendance. However, being in class together and being able to form personal bonds with fellow students was crucial in developing my PMBA network.
Garrett: I received an incredible amount of support from the folks in my Greenville cohort.
I truly don’t know if I would have been able to complete the program without them.
We were the “COVID-19 class” that started in fall 2020, and this group really made
all the difference in navigating school through those difficult times. I had an incredible
amount of life changes during the program. During my time in the PMBA program, I built
two houses, had two job changes, my wife was diagnosed with colon cancer, and we were
blessed to have our first child. My Greenville PMBA classmates were there to support
me through it all. We were able to help each other through our strengths and hold
one another up in our weaker spots. These are friendships that will last a lifetime.
What skills did you gain from the Moore School that have impacted your career?
Benton: I had a lot of people ask why I was doing an MBA as an engineer. My response has always been that I enjoy manufacturing, but I want to be involved on the business/executive side of manufacturing companies. I was promoted to VP of my current company after being in the MBA program for almost two years. My willingness and drive to take the step to pursue an MBA encouraged my employer to notice my developing skillset as a business leader of the company. I immediately was able to put the knowledge from the PMBA to work as I began to look at strategic plans, balance sheets, profit and losses and management of people. The skills and knowledge gained have been of great help to myself and to my company.
Davis: Skills learned are honestly still being explored. The Business Analytics Graduate Certificate was extremely useful to me, and I was able to implement learnings quickly. Financial studies also helped me better understand these areas of business. I think I will continue to pull from the knowledge and experience over time. I even asked my manager to help provide me with opportunities to utilize the skills via projects and any other career development opportunities.
Jones: The PMBA program does a great job of teaching subjects and skills outside of your specific work experience. Accounting, marketing and finance were subjects that I had not taken since my undergraduate program. The skills that were taught at the Moore School in the PMBA program have allowed me to take these skills and leverage them in my professional career.
Garrett: In my line of work, analytic and technical skills are obvious answers. In addition,
leadership and managerial skills will also prove very worthwhile. Also, the skill
of simply retraining my brain to learn as a working adult has made a huge difference
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Benton: I hope to continue to lead my current company and continue to improve upon our current growth pattern. We have a lot of potential, and I look forward to aiding in that.
Davis: In 5-10 years, I see myself in higher-level management positions within Michelin, maybe even ex-pat assignments that our company offers.
Jones: In 5-10 years, I would like to be in a director-level role at AFL. The Moore School has shown that my professional knowledge along with the skills I learned in the PMBA program can be a great asset to my company.
Garrett: In 5-10 years, I see myself either leading a team of analysts or becoming a data scientist.