Iraq War veteran Brandon Walsh, chose the Broad MBA program because of its value in the business world. Now a senior manager of Strategy and Development at Whirlpool, Walsh understands the magnitude of the return on his investment in the program. He loved the classes and being challenged to rethink his assumptions to expand his problem solving abilities. “It prepared me to think on my feet and thrive in a team setting. My co-workers notice and admire this.”
After spending four years with the Boston Consulting Group, Iraq War veteran and family man Brandon Walsh is transitioning into a senior role at Whirlpool as Senior Manager of Strategy and Development.
When he compares this to what he was doing before earning his MBA at MSU’s Broad Graduate School of Management, Walsh recognizes the significance of his time at Broad and understands that the experiences and knowledge gained here are exactly what enabled him to change the industry in which he was consulting, successfully exiting the government sector and entering into commercial work.
According to Walsh, there are five MBAs in his incoming class at Whirlpool. Referring to how he can compete with peers from other top schools, he says, “It speaks highly of the program. There are 2 graduates from Wharton, one from HBS, and one from Columbia, so the fact that Broad prepared me is, in and of itself, an accomplishment.”
Walsh appreciates that Broad’s curriculum emphasized working in teams, which helped him master his ability to thrive in team settings—something his employers have noticed and loved. In class, Walsh gravitated toward and was able to practice the same set of roles he fills today.
“I tend to prefer managing process—how the work’s going to be done, who’s going to do what—and providing more of the strategic oversight,” he elaborates. “I feel it’s more constructive if someone steps up early on than for everyone to sit around hemming and hawing, so I step in and say, ‘All right, what are we doing? Let’s make a decision. Let’s do it.’”
Walsh notes that the atmosphere of classes as well as the flow of ideas and conversation enhanced his experience at Broad. In addition to encouraging conversation, Broad’s highly regarded faculty pushed him to think on his feet and challenge his base assumptions. Walsh describes, “Challenging the core assumptions was actually quite helpful. It makes you stop, take a step back, and really think about how [one variable] may not be [the one] you should be thinking about.”
Before earning his Broad MBA, Walsh started off his career in intelligence—first in the U.S. Army, while stationed in Korea, Hawaii, and Iraq, and later on, as a civil servant, in both the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Afterward, he used his government experience to transition into a consultant role at Booz Allen Hamilton. There, Walsh worked primarily in the government and public sector spaces, at times entering into the commercial side.
Walsh enjoyed consulting, but his heart wasn’t in government work anymore. As he explains, “I wanted to go back to school for my MBA because I wanted to switch careers. I wanted to fully get out of the government sector, to be more involved in purely, truly commercial work.”
A number of top schools accepted Walsh into their programs, but when deciding which to choose, he says, “It ended up coming down to value. The issue with living in [a large city, like] Chicago, with a family is it didn’t seem like it was going to make any financial sense, and Broad offered me a good scholarship. My big focus was always either strategy or operations. From an operations perspective, that’s largely in the realm of supply chain, and for that Broad stands out.”
Reflecting on his time at Broad and the gratifying career he enjoys today, Walsh is well aware of the ROI of his degree and, “know[s] from the metrics and rankings that it’s better than most.”