Brandon Greene on Commanding the Room
As someone who spends his business life tracking a nearly $80 billion global adhesives and sealants market for Avery Dennison, Boler Part-Time MBA student Brandon Greene knows a thing or two about making an idea stick.
With an undergraduate degree from John Carroll University and the Boler College in economics and finance, Greene, currently Global Petrochemical and Acrylic Monomers Category Manager, came to pursue an MBA mid-career after recognizing a pattern in corporate promotions. “I noticed that any time a new executive was being promoted or brought in from the outside,” he says, “they all have MBAs.”
With an aspiration to follow a similar path toward the c-suite, Greene searched for an evening MBA that could add a critical layer of finish and polish. “I liked the leadership focus of the Boler program,” Greene says. “My MBA experience so far affirms my work experience, which says that leadership means thinking across functions. How well can you translate knowledge — whether it’s data, financial trends, context, strategy — to various levels of the organization in a manner that people find to be digestible and relevant.”
The Boler MBA attracts a range of people and business backgrounds, some younger than Greene and some with even more business experience. Like other mid-career professionals, Greene knows that a decade or more of real-world business experience can hone your thinking and focus as you enter an MBA.
“I'm glad that I waited as long as I did (to start the MBA),” he says. “I feel like at this point, I bring a lot more to the table. I have that business experience. When we’re talking about negotiations and motivating people, I'm able to contribute more to the conversations or participate more and provide good insight in the classroom that could benefit my colleagues or my classmates. I’ve lived it.”
Professionals like Greene increasingly acknowledge that the career journey really is a marathon, and that ongoing learning is the key to surviving and thriving in the data-rich, knowledge economy.
“I think one difference about a liberal arts education, even for someone like me in finance, was the instinct it gives you for being a strategic thinker and understanding more than the immediate moment that we’re living.
“Numbers tell part of any business story, but adaptation, change and success require a wider view,” Green continues. “Your challenge is to help a lot of very different people reach a common understanding. They need more than numbers and data, they need history and projection, they need context and a story. Only then can we all understand the big picture and be good to go.”
Greene credits a mentor from the chemical industry with helping him navigate an engineering-heavy workplace as a finance econ major. “She made it simple — most of what’s required, she told me, begins with building relationships.”
Greene says that the relationship building is a natural tie in with the Boler MBA focus on leadership. “It's something that I wasn't always good at, and so I really put an effort into doing that and putting a premium on building relationships,” he says. “The MBA program makes a practice out of networking and communicating. My ability to stand in front of audiences, and make sure I don't lose their attention, has taken off — I am far more comfortable commanding the room.”
“I take it as a compliment when some of my older co-workers notice the effort,” he says. “They say, ‘hey, wait a minute…, this guy's kind of old-school’. I appreciate that.”