By Hally Darnell
What do military defense intelligence and the world of business have in common? There is never a dull day in either, according to Brandon Walsh (Full-Time MBA ‘10), who is both a United States Army veteran and the head of marketing and merchandising for Whirlpool’s entire cleaning business.
A self-proclaimed “career switcher,” Walsh transitioned from his role in the military to consulting before deciding to pursue his MBA at Broad College of Business. “As a career switcher, I would have found it difficult, if not impossible, to make the leap that I did without an MBA to back it up,” said Walsh. “I did not have the business skills coming from a military background that I needed to really make that transition into business easily. Having an MBA is a complete enabler for finding success in what I wanted to do.”
When it came down to deciding where he wanted to get his MBA, Walsh chose Michigan State for its stand-out reputation from an operations perspective, largely in the realm of supply chain, and because it provides students with a technical skill set unlike many other top-ranked MBA programs. “I think the program at Michigan State is very broad and it creates a good set of generalists,” said Walsh. “But it also goes into a good technical depth, and those technical skills are the most beneficial in new career roles.”
From the ease of working with Broad staff on getting answers regarding veteran benefits to the diverse, team-based nature of the coursework to the intimate size of the program to being closer to his family; it was the little things that stood out most to Walsh while he was earning his MBA.
Now at Whirlpool, Walsh applies that same approach every day as he and his team work to figure out which market, pricing and promotional strategies will help existing product lines succeed in the market. These decisions are driven by consumer insights, and for Walsh, this is the most rewarding aspect of his job. “You make the decisions and it is easy to see the results,” said Walsh. “You get to see people getting excited about the decisions you’ve made.”
Walsh not only takes the skills and knowledge he gained from his MBA coursework, but also his military background to succeed in his career at Whirlpool. “I take the framework, the approach, the way I think creatively about problems and the way I try to come at problems from different angles with me to work everyday.”