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Darla Moore School of Business

  • Images of Hunter Blackwell in his Army fatigues, while he was abroad in Germany and in the Moore School courtyard in his hooding gear

    Hunter Blackwell: From serving in the U.S. Army to studying abroad in Germany and graduating from the IMBA program

Trading artillery for a global banking position

Army vet credits skills he gained during International MBA program with preparing him for a Bank of America global banking role

The transition from camouflage to garnet and black was a no-brainer for U.S. Army veteran Hunter Blackwell after learning about the International MBA program at the Darla Moore School of Business.

Blackwell is completing the IMBA program in spring 2024 – the same time frame that the U.S. News & World Report named the Moore School IMBA program the No. 1 international MBA for the 11th consecutive year.

The 2025 rankings mark the 35th consecutive year the Moore School IMBA has been in the top three. In tandem with the IMBA, the Moore School also claimed two Top 20 rankings for Supply Chain Management MBA and the Professional/Part-time MBA programs. They also earned a spot in the Top 25 for a new ranking: Best Production-Operations MBA Programs.

The IMBA ranking and MBA programs’ reputation is largely what drew Blackwell to the program.

“I decided to pursue my IMBA while transitioning from the U.S. Army. I was intrigued with how the Moore School is a front-runner among peer schools in the discipline of international business,” Blackwell said. “The program was also very accommodating to veterans relative to other schools — it was the perfect fit for me.”

Previously an active-duty field artillery officer in the U.S. Army, Blackwell served in the reserves while enrolled at the Moore School.

He said his military expertise paired with the instruction of the IMBA program helped him develop better team-building skills while maneuvering various challenges.

“I discovered how to work as a member of a team during critical moments,” Blackwell said. “This skill is crucial in the business world.”

Cultivating strong leadership skills was also key for Blackwell as an IMBA student wanting to work in global business.

“The Darla Moore School of Business provides a top-tier education for aspiring business leaders,” Blackwell said. “I learned that maintaining clear and concise communication is key for any organization and leader.”

Within the IMBA curriculum, Blackwell said he gained knowledge on how to interweave environmental, social and governance responsibilities as a financial leader.

“I learned how the fiduciary duties of a financial leader are intertwined with environmental, social, and governance responsibilities in today’s business arena,” Blackwell said. “The program also allowed me to sharpen my networking skills. I hope to champion these skills working with business leaders in the future.”

He said that becoming the best leader in business involves stepping out of your comfort zone and taking action.

“The business world needs strong leadership, and the Moore School is the institution to sharpen yourself to become that steward,” he said. “Be confident while presenting and challenge someone to discuss your findings.”

Blackwell said he honed his ability to analyze complex global business issues during his time abroad during his international immersion in his IMBA second year.

“I studied at WHU - Otto Boeheim School of Management in Dusseldorf, Germany,” he said. “Seeing how business is conducted in the European Union and non-EU members was very noteworthy.”

Blackwell explained that European industries are interconnected throughout the continent and even non-EU members work concurrently with EU member firms.

“I saw how some non-EU members were entitled to various EU incentives such as Liechtenstein’s ability to partake in the European Economic Area,” he said. “This incentive strengthens all economies involved in such an interconnected region of the world.” 

He also said he observed a major difference between EU members and non-members through the mergers and acquisition regulations.

“The EU adds an extra layer of ‘final say’ of M&A transactions,” Blackwell said. “The non-members must take this into consideration of a target firm headquartered within a member country.” 

Blackwell said the International Mergers and Acquisitions class gave him crucial quantitative and qualitative analysis skills.

“My favorite class was International Mergers and Acquisitions taught by Professor John Saleeby,” he said. “The class forced students to think critically and put themselves in the shoes of real-world mergers and acquisitions strategy team leads.”

Working through real-world experiences in the IMBA program prepared Blackwell for the next step in his career with a position at Bank of America.

“My wife, Allison, and I will be moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, as I have accepted a position with Bank of America within their Global Operations Department,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell will continue as an Army reservist as he embarks on his finance career.

-Christian Osborne

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.