Within Michigan State University’s network of more than 600,000 alumni, some are lucky enough to call themselves two-time Spartans when they earn both undergraduate and graduate degrees along the banks of the Red Cedar.
Matt Perlick, commodity program manager at Intel, is among this group, first earning a bachelor’s from MSU’s College of Education. After being a high school teacher and working for an edtech startup in Detroit, he stumbled upon an interest in procurement and found that the Broad College of Business’ Full-Time MBA program was a natural fit.
“My wife and I went to an admitted students’ weekend, and we were coming back from one of the socials and we were both in a really good mood,” Perlick said. “We felt like these are our people. We really connect with everyone here. We’re on the same wavelength, and we all have similar goals and ambitions. We just felt very at home and from that sense of culture.”
As he set out to begin the MBA program, despite being at home on the campus he already knew and loved, Perlick says there was an adjustment period coming from an education background into the business world.
“I spent half of my first semester experiencing the worst imposter syndrome,” he said. “Coming from education and a startup environment, where I was mostly working on curriculum content, and seeing all these really impressive and intelligent peers around me made me think they made a mistake letting me into the program.”
Once Perlick overcame that initial anxiety, he said, he started to thrive and truly find himself at Broad by taking his strengths and applying them through the lens of the program.
“This program helps you become the best version of yourself; it doesn’t help you become someone you’re not,” Perlick said. “You’re getting the skills and the frameworks and knowledge to leverage your own capabilities.”
Perlick enjoyed courses on business communication and presentations, as well as negotiations, which he says he uses today in both professional settings around supply chain challenges at Intel and in personal settings.
“The negotiations course at MSU was much more collaborative in nature as opposed to competitive,” he said. “It was structured with that sort of collaborative problem solving and win-win mutual benefit perspective, and it really helped me think of negotiations differently. Now I know that it’s not me vs. you, it’s us working together to figure out how we can solve a problem together.”
The MBA program is centered on collaboration, a theme that is brought to life by the strong community of Broad Spartans. Perlick said this has been the most valuable aspect and something he continues to tap into to find friends and allies in fellow alumni.
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my MBA. It opened a number of doors, including my current role because of an MSU alumnus who I’m good friends with,” he said. “I think when you meet other MSU alumni, there’s always that connection immediately, which helps with meeting new people but also helps with getting stuff done to help each other in our business.”
This passionate community also encompasses Broad faculty and staff, with whom Perlick has enjoyed staying connected throughout the years too — something he encourages current and future MBAs to do.
“I always appreciate how open the faculty and staff are with questions, issues or even to bounce ideas off of,” Perlick said. “They are always responsive and happy to follow up with good catch-ups and conversations. I’ve had conversations with career services, with faculty, with admissions for various things. All of those people have really made such a big impact on my life, and it’s nice to be able to feel like I’m part of that community with them, even after graduation.”