February, 2020: Editor’s note – Tiffany Munsell was recently promoted to serve as Chief of Staff at Rolls Royce. Congratulations, Tiffany!
Before earning her law degree, Tiffany Munsell, MBA’19, worked in investment banking, so when she became an attorney, she knew she wanted to combine both experiences and stay within corporate business.
Her career led her from the economic development and venture capital fields to her current role as a commercial manager at Rolls Royce Corporation in Indianapolis. As she grew in this role, she recognized a greater need for more business acumen.
“My job is about 60 percent business and 40 percent legal work, and I recognized I didn’t have a complete business skill set,” she says. “I thought: I’m at a leading corporation; I’m doing mostly business-related activities. My legal degree has served me well, but I need to sharpen the technical skills I could find in an MBA program.”
Munsell enrolled in the Kelley School of Business Evening MBA Program. At first, she regretted not earning her MBA while she was earning her JD degree, but eventually, she realized that focusing on the business subject matter in her current role allowed her to apply it better now than she would have been able to as a law student. Attracted to Kelley’s reputation and position as a top-ranked part-time MBA program, Munsell also embraced the hybrid online and in-person instruction format.
“I appreciate how the courses are structured. Each week, you have one class in person and another online. That flexibility is important to me because I have a daughter. My family totally supports this MBA journey, but it was crucial the schedule accommodate me,” says Munsell.
“Flexibility wasn’t my only consideration, however. I didn’t want to do a completely online program because I like interacting face-to-face with others. I like that the Kelley Evening MBA offers a hybrid environment where I had intimate, personal relationships with my professors and members of my cohort, but I don’t have to be present in class multiple days a week.”
Throughout the program, Evening MBA students gain an understanding of a wide variety of business principles in finance, operations, marketing, management, and strategy, with opportunities to drill down into any particular field of interest.
Munsell says the greatest return on her investment, thus far, has been gaining a wider perspective on business. At Rolls Royce, Munsell works with colleagues with more technical backgrounds than business, which allows her to bring added value with her Kelley MBA.
“I hope this program provides me an opportunity to go from being a middle manager to being an executive,” she says.
To that end, one valuable and unique component to the Kelley Evening MBA Program is the professional development and career coaching, which Munsell says provided invaluable insight.
“The Kelley School provides excellent career mapping and direction for managing your career plan. Beyond providing you with technical business skills, they prepare you to market yourself and make career choices in line with your overall career objective,” says Munsell.
“The management simulations, leadership development course, guest speakers, and career coaching prepare you to be your own advocate. Instead of waiting around for a promotion you deserve, you’re coached on how to go get it. You determine not only how you want to grow, but what type of environment and culture you want to work for, what your strengths are, and how it all plays into your career trajectory. The program is very intentional about making these decisions, which I think is unique.”
Like many professionals in a corporate environment, Munsell understands how easy it is to stay in one silo, not expanding a network beyond your own industry. In the Kelley Evening MBA Program, where she learned alongside professionals from various industries and backgrounds, Munsell acquired a wider network and new ways to approach business.
“Networking within the cohorts and KIMWA (Kelley Indianapolis MBA Women’s Association) expanded my network and gave me a better sense of what’s going on in the business and central Indiana communities,” says Munsell. “Being able to bounce ideas off other business professionals and future business executives is huge. As you continue to grow toward the executive level, you become more isolated and may not have a peer network. Now as I move forward, I have several people I can contact.”
Among those in Munsell’s new network are the expert Kelley professors who provide guidance in her studies and how she approaches her work. She says Kim Saxton, clinical professor of marketing, has been an advocate in promoting and empowering underrepresented women in business.
Munsell says the finance course she took with Greg Durham, clinical associate professor of finance, was instrumental to her experience because of his passion for teaching.
“He’s very intentional about ensuring that students are well prepared for any additional or future classes they may take in finance,” she says.
While she says the Evening MBA Program has been transformative, it has also been challenging. In balancing a corporate job, a daughter, and a personal life with a rigorous MBA program, Munsell says it has been helpful that the program is designed for working professionals.
“It definitely takes hard work and sacrifice, but the work is enriching. It’s rewarding,” she says. “I’m a single mom; I work a very demanding job, and I’m taking coursework—and managing it all. Anyone committed to putting in the time can succeed in this program. The Kelley Evening MBA sets you up for success now and in the future.”