"I liked the small class size while being part of the large university, which is nice because you have a large alumni base you can draw upon. It felt like a close-knit program and I actually cancelled my other visits after going there and being accepted because I realized it felt right."
Dan French, Group Planning Manager at Microsoft, never doubted or regretted his decision to come to MSU’s Broad Graduate School of Management. In fact, he knew early on that Broad was the right fit and now concludes that much of his career success has been a direct result of his time here.
Today, French is in a supply chain planning position that he landed because he turned it down seven years ago while earning his MBA at Broad. The roles and Seattle location had intrigued him back then, but the timing was off. He gained manufacturing experience abroad through an exclusive leadership rotation program at Motorola before reconnecting with Microsoft’s hiring managers, letting them know the time was right. As French tells it, “We re-established contact and that original interview I did in 2006 turned into a job in 2011. I’ve been here for three and a half years and I’m responsible for all the production and distribution of anything that’s an accessory to personal computers. If it has Microsoft’s name on it and attaches to a computer of some sort, then my name is probably behind it.”
The opportunities French has had with Microsoft and Motorola—whose leadership program was only available to MBAs, specifically those from Michigan State and two other schools—were made possible by way of the Career Services Center’s many partnerships with major companies. Initially French underestimated career services, not realizing how farsighted they were or that career planning would start immediately—before classes even started. They helped him land an internship with Dell, narrow down offers, and strategize which one to accept. French recalls, “It was really helpful, really personal. I attribute a lot of my career placement to that team.”
That personal touch also helped French secure a fruitful graduate assistantship because, as he sees it, “They knew what I was interested in and matched me with a professor they knew I could be of benefit to. I had the opportunity to be a part of government-sponsored research and was published twice. I never in my life thought I’d be published.”
Looking back, selecting Broad wasn’t difficult for French, although some of his friends were surprised when he didn’t choose one of the two schools in Chicago, his hometown. French admits, “Realistically, it just didn’t make sense for what I wanted to do, which was supply chain, and career services was the icing on top that sealed the deal for me to go to Broad.”
“Broad really stood out,” he continues. “I liked the small class size while being part of the large university, which is nice because you have a large alumni base you can draw upon. It felt like a close-knit program and I actually cancelled my other visits after going there and being accepted because I realized it felt right.”
Before joining Broad’s program, French was a manager at a global consulting firm. He started practicing supply chain planning, but learned what he was doing strictly by doing it since his education was in engineering. Discovering he enjoyed supply chain, French decided to go back to school. He explains, “I wanted to gain a business education that would complement what I had learned practically at work. I wanted a full MBA in supply chain and not just a master’s because I wanted to have finance, accounting, marketing, and leadership training. Most of what I do today,” he adds, “I couldn’t have done without having some of that marketing background.”