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Real-World Learning, Real World Success

Keith Johnson realized the value of his MBA wasn't in a textbook.
Keith Johnson realized the value of his MBA wasn’t in a textbook.

When it comes to getting an MBA, only so much can be taught from a textbook.

Keith Johnson (MBA Supply Chain ’07) began his career working for the State of Michigan in government affairs, but he decided he was ready to take a leap into the business world. While he was originally attracted to Michigan State’s MBA because of the name and reputation, he soon realized there was something more to MSU’s MBA program that he wouldn’t have gotten at other schools.

“At Broad, we’re more practical and have a real-world view of things instead of an ideological view,” he said. “I realized that if I could surround myself with people who can teach me how to do things in the real world – not just from a textbook, in a classroom or a sanitized setting – it’ll serve me well in life.”

And that it did.

Johnson credits the Broad MBA for career opportunities via the internship programs, but also for the skills to succeed in private industry. Those same skills, he said, enhanced him personally because it changed his approach to thinking about things and going about things on a daily basis.

In his role as materials manager for Pratt & Whitney in Hartford, Connecticut, Johnson faces ambiguity on a day-to-day basis and needs to tap into the tools he learned at Broad. “Creativity and innovation go into our daily work. A lot of times, we’re bringing new business into our current workflow, and you have no idea how a strategy will work until you put it to practice. You can do all the planning you want and draw up concepts on how you think it would work in an idea setting. But when you start to implement and see shortcomings, you need to know how to creatively improvise,” he said.

For Johnson, it wasn’t necessarily textbook curriculum that he got him to where he is today. Rather, the practical skills and expertise he acquired in a real-world setting. That, he said, is how you make business happen.


Eli Broad College of Business

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