Cottrell MBA Spotlight: Vinay Kumar

by Evie Somogyi, marketing intern and senior marketing student, Mike Cottrell College of Business

Getting your MBA is very beneficial — even after years of experience. As manager of an IT development team at General Motors, Vinay Kumar decided to get his MBA after 18 years in the field. Throughout his career, Vinay worked across multiple geographies, roles, and functions. As Vinay’s career progressed into managerial roles, he found that, “although I had been exposed to broad perspectives and paradigms that helped to strengthen my management skills, I still felt that he was missing a stamp of academia from his career resume.”

In his current management role at General Motors, Vinay’s team supports GM’s Customer Relationship Management Systems for GM business teams, GM dealers, as well as external third-party CRM providers. GM’s CRM systems allows GM to run targeted promotions and GM dealers to review customers’ vehicle service history before they show up for service. As a result, they provide better customer service by knowing their customers.

Vinay chose the Cottrell MBA for a number of reasons. Vinay said that, “UNG provided me so the perfect opportunity to access an accredited school — in close proximity — with a flexible class schedule to fit my busy life.” After talking to alumni, attending orientation, and going through the curriculum, Vinay knew that he had found a “hidden gem in North Georgia.” To top it off, “GM provides a strong employee development program that offers tuition support — which made it an opportune time to enrich my education.”

 Vinay’s first two semesters have proved that he made the best decision by choosing the Cottrell MBA. He said that, “the overall experience has been very rewarding, both academically and for broader professional networking.” His classes have given him a different perspective and he has found that, “the MBA academic content is practical and teaches skills and concepts that you can implement right away.” Vinay used his leadership course as an example when describing how beneficial his courses have been. He said the course, “was not just a conceptual discussion about what a good leader should be, but rather an active encouragement to find the leader in yourself.”

Though he is only through his first few semesters, Vinay has already gained knowledge from his courses that he can implement simultaneously into his current role as IT manager. He said that, ”project management and leadership courses have direct application to what I do on day-to-day basis at work. The leadership course in particular helped me identify my specific traits and behaviors which I am able to channel through my leadership style.” As someone in the technology field, Vinay is planning to pursue the Specialization in Technology Leadership.

Vinay views his MBA journey as a “holistic experience” that has encompassed strong academic values, personal growth, and networking opportunities. He has enjoyed being able to network with students from a variety of different backgrounds. With the opportunity to work on group projects, Vinay has gotten to hear new perspectives. Furthermore, he has been able, “to learn about other people’s domains, the challenges they face, and how they solve them.”

Going forward, Vinay has made it his priority to apply everything that he has learned to his current role. He would also like to carry forward the networking connections that he has gained through the program, and give back to the UNG local community as opportunities arise.

For more information on the Cottrell MBA, visit

MBA Hiring Trends

If you are considering getting an MBA, the prospects haven’t been this kind to graduates in almost a decade. According to Prep Adviser, the economy’s stabilization has lead to an increase in the need for MBA graduates. U.S. News and World Report shows the average starting salary up to $89,051, an increase of 12 percent from 2005 after adjusting for inflation. The average employment rate for MBA graduates was 60.5percent and 81.5 percent when looking three months after graduation.

The Corporate Recruiters Survey on 2014 hiring trends, conducted in partnership with MBA CSEA and European Foundation for Management and Development (EFMD), as well as business schools and companies cross the globe found that MBA hiring rates are the highest since the Great Recession in 2009.

“This year’s survey paints a very positive picture for the business education sector and clearly shows how companies and recruiters value the whole portfolio of business degrees,” said Professor Eric Cornuel, CEO and directory general of the EFMD. “Despite all of the doom and gloom, the clear message from the market is that business schools are providing the talented, bright individuals that companies need.”

The prospects are equally as good for students looking for career opportunities abroad, as employers surveyed in Asia-Pacific (83 percent) and Europe (61 percent) planned to join the U.S. (86 percent) in plans to hire MBA graduates.

“2013 turned out to be a solid year for MBA employment, so the large majority of schools reporting stable to increasing trends indicates very positive hiring as this year’s recruiting season progresses,” said Mark Peterson, president of the MBA Career Services & Employer Alliance (MBA CSEA). His group’s survey found that 43 percent of schools reported an increase in on-campus recruiting for full-time positions, while 56 percent reported an increase in full-time job postings.

So with all the indicators pointing in the right direction, where are the opportunities for  newly minted MBA grads? The QS Top MBA annual survey of MBA employers detailed the growth by sectors of MBA hires, finding the energy sector with an 18 percent higher demand for MBAs, while high tech and electronics companies reported an 11 percent growth, and consulting and professional services saw a 9 percent increase in demand.

Is now the right time for you to get your MBA? While there are many factors to consider, the fact remains that the global economy is only increasing its reliance on MBA graduates to forge the future of business.



US News Data Show Improved Employment Outcomes For MBA Grads – US News and World Report Blog

2014 Hiring Trends Suggest Increased Demand For MBAs – PrepAdviser

2014 Global MBA Recruitment Market – Stacy Blackman Consulting Blog

An MBA: Worth More Than Just Money

There are many reasons to pursue a Masters of Business Administration degree. While many potential students focus solely on the impact an MBA could have to their future salaries, and the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2013 Alumni survey found the median annual salary for MBA holders was $100,000, the impact stretches far beyond a bigger paycheck.

Professionals with an MBA have an increased network of business contacts, a wealth of practical real-world case studies they can apply on the job, as well as a well-rounded outlook on economic issues both within and beyond their chosen industries.

Expand Your Mind AND Your Network

MBA programs provide amazing opportunities to strengthen and expand your network of business contacts and associates. First and foremost is the opportunity to build deep and long-lasting relationships with fellow students. Writing for Forbes, Eric Jackson says, “You go through a tough experience like getting your MBA together and it’s hard not to make a few friends along the way.”

And as these friends graduate and begin to expand into the professional world, so does your personal network. Continues Jackson of your classmates, “Friends of their friends will probably be potentially invaluable contacts for you down the line.”

Scott Shrum, vice president of marketing and director of MBA admissions at test prep and graduate school admissions consulting firm Veritas Prep says, “one of the best reasons to get an MBA is the exposure you will gain to people from all different backgrounds and walks of life. Your network will grow and you’ll learn a lot. That exposure has lasting business value.”

But more than just your fellow students, an MBA program grants you access to professors, guest lecturers and an existing alumni base that can provide guidance, insight and open critical doors for you in your career. “If you want to be great, you’ve got to learn what’s made great people great,” Jackson continues. “You’ve got that chance when [guest speakers] come through and talk.”

Best of Both Worlds

While many weigh pursuit of further education against the benefits of practical work experience, a great MBA program offers both. Peter von Loesecke, the CEO and managing director of The MBA Tour, an independent organization that hosts events around the world, says MBA students gain knowledge through case studies, group projects, networking or real-world experiences in corporations. These experiences help broaden viewpoints and change thinking.

“An MBA will teach you to think holistically when solving problems,” von Loesecke said. “In today’s business world, you have to learn how to look at the influences, work in groups under pressure, make decisions – even when the facts aren’t clear – and be flexible enough to change those decisions when needed.”

Shrum agrees. “The [MBA] is designed to help you think more as a manager should – critically, strategically and globally,” he said. “That marriage of educated and practical problem solving could prove the perfect combination to potential employers who value both in-class and on-the-job experience.

Learnings Beyond Your Experience

And finally, the idea that our world is shrinking every day isn’t new. But from a business perspective, there is a potential to carry learnings from one industry over to another in order to recognize efficiencies and opportunities. And while professional experiences keep you focused on your specific industry, MBA coursework is designed to broaden your horizons.

“If you worked in manufacturing before and now you want to focus in on finance, you can do that,” Jackson said. “If you did accounting, but want to focus on private equity, you can do that to.” The varied exposures can help you gain a broad base of understanding outside of any professional experiences you may have had so far. You can even intentionally focus on a new field as part of a long-range career plan. And in increasingly complex and competitive job markets, cross-trained thinkers who demonstrate knowledge of a wide variety of subjects can stand above others with more limited viewpoints.

Plus, as MBA programs are increasingly made up of international students, Jackson says that the opportunity to gain international insight and experiences from a diverse set of classmates can only strengthen your value to potential employers. “It is really important these days that you get out of your little perspective of whatever your last job was in your little corner of the USA.”

Pursuing an MBA is a big commitment. Considering the many benefits, beyond just the monetary impact, can help you better understand how valuable an MBA can be to your professional development.



MBA Overview: Why should you get an MBA? – All Business Schools

The 10 Most Underrated Reasons Why You Should Get An MBA – Forbes

Should You Get An MBA? – Harvard Business Review

How An MBA Can Help You Get An Edge On Your Career – Atlanta Journal-Constitution

2014 Prospective Students Survey Report – GMAC


Coca-Cola Marketing Executive Speaks to Cottrell MBA Class

brad-taylorLast week the 2014 Cottrell MBA cohort was treated to a special class led by Brad Taylor, Vice President, National Specialty Retail for the Coca-Cola North America Group.

Brad leads a team of sales and marketing professionals to grow revenues and profits among retailers in the specialty retail  malls, fitness, healthcare and other channels where the company’s bottles beverages are bought and consumed one drink at a time.

Brad joined The Coca-Cola Company in 1994 as Senior Customer Marketing Manager and has since held various sales and marketing leadership positions. Brad holds a BBA in Advertising from The University of Georgia and recently earned an MBA with a concentration in Marketing. With that unique perspective, Brad was able to relate closely with the Cottrell MBA students and talk in detail about the kind of work he’s doing and how he handles leadership challenges related to marketing.

Brad also briefly discussed his service to the marketing industry and his duties as a Board Member of the Brand Activation Association and the CMO Council. He also encouraged students with an interest in marketing to join the Atlanta chapter of the American Marketing Association.

Career Fair Open to Students and Alumni

Mark your calendars! Thursday, March 7 is your exclusive opportunity to talk with employers from all over north metro Georgia, as well as talk with representatives from UNG’s Master of Business Administration program about ways to advance your career.

Students and Alumni Only

UNG’s Career Fair will be open only to current students and alumni from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Recreation Center on UNG’s Dahlonega campus. Dress in professional attire and bring a current resume to make the best impression with employers and graduate school programs.

Beat the MBA Application Deadline

Kelli Crickey, MBA Director

Stop by the Career Fair and visit with MBA Director Kelli Crickey to learn about UNG’s MBA program on the Cumming campus. Kelli can help you begin the application process to begin classes this fall, as well as share resources for preparing for the GMAT or any foundation courses that non-business majors may need before beginning the program.

If you can’t attend the Career Fair, but would still like to chat with Kelli, please register for an MBA Information Session in Cumming or ask Kelli a question online.

To learn more about the Career Fair, please visit News@UNG.