Sometimes, you want a career shift; other times, you want wholesale change.
Tim Perez, MBA’18, was a business development manager for retail Sherwin Williams stores when he realized his interests were shifting from operations. He enjoyed the work but was drawn to the finance side of business.
“I realized a few years into doing this job that I wanted to work in finance, but without a finance degree, the transition would be difficult,” he said. “The best route to make a move was to get an MBA.”
Tim enrolled in the Evening MBA Program at the Kelley School of Business in downtown Indianapolis. The program is offered part-time, allowing professionals like Tim to work while earning a Kelley MBA.
“I chose the Evening MBA Program because I could earn a top-ranked MBA located nearby, with a brand name that’s highly recognized, and I could pay for it as I go,” said Tim.
Tim discovered that the Kelley Evening MBA offered a wider view of business through which he could approach his work. Having spent several years working in operations and business development, the change to finance would be significant. He says it forced him out of his comfort zone.
“In your day-to-day work, you’re typically focused on one area of business. An MBA is a generalist degree that teaches you about all parts of the business and how to think about things in a way that adds value to your company,” said Tim. “Organizations are looking for people who can drive the business, not just manipulate data all day. The Kelley Evening MBA prepares you to be a good business partner by truly understanding what the organization needs to grow.”
Organizations are looking for people who can drive the business, not just manipulate data all day. The Kelley Evening MBA prepares you to be a good business partner by truly understanding what the organization needs to grow.”
Growth can be uncomfortable. Tim says the coursework and the structure at the Kelley School allowed him to be more comfortable with uncertainty and gain confidence making decisions based on available data.
“In the business world, you’re often forced to make decisions without having all the information, which is what you do during an MBA,” he said. “You can’t possibly read every single page and memorize all the notes you’ve taken, especially in group work. At some point you have to take the information you have at a given time and make the best decision. That’s a skill that translates 1:1 in the business world.”
Growth can be uncomfortable. The coursework and structure at the Kelley School allowed him to be more comfortable with uncertainty.
Students attend the 24-month Evening MBA Program in cohorts, with ongoing opportunities to work in teams. The learning doesn’t come from the coursework alone, but also through rich conversation and collaboration with a diverse group of professionals from various industries within the cohort.
“In your job, you must be comfortable working with business partners who are the subject matter experts in something you understand on a basic level,” he said. “It’s important to know when to let someone else take the lead and how to bring the right people to the table so you can collectively make the right decision for the organization.”
As he neared graduation, Tim began working closely with a career coach at the Kelley School to prepare for job interviews. Three companies invited Tim for final-round interviews, and he ultimately selected a senior financial analyst position at Whirlpool Corporation in Michigan. More recently, he accepted a role as a finance manager over supply chain at CraftMark Bakery, which brings him back to Indianapolis.
“My MBA helped me get the job that I’m starting now. There are a lot of MBAs out there, and while I think it’s great to earn one, having one from Kelley is definitely a differentiator,” said Tim. “Whirlpool specifically hires people from Kelley because they recognize the talent and the rigor of the program, and it’s one of the reasons I got in the door with my new company. It’s a recognized degree that’s well respected among employers.”
There are a lot of MBAs out there, and while I think it’s great to earn one, having one from Kelley is definitely a differentiator.”
As Tim embarks on his second finance job since earning his Kelley MBA, he knows he has found the career path that best suits him. And he feels he is a much stronger professional having gone through the challenge of a Kelley MBA.
“Having the degree gives you a sense of confidence that you belong in a situation. I think it opens a lot of doors.”