: MBA 2009
: Associate brand manager
: Olive Garden
"UNC Kenan-Flagler helped me develop my leadership skills. As I work with cross-functional teams, the communication skills I learned have helped me in leading those groups."
What he does in his job:
"We manage the entire process of dish development—from ideation to operations and consumer testing to national launch. Regarding operations, we must ensure we are able to offer a consistent experience at each and every Olive Garden around the country. In terms of consumer and further operations testing, the dishes we develop are tested both conceptually and through operations tests live in-restaurant. If the proposed dishes are guest driving, operationally executable, and financially worthwhile, we move forward to national launch."
What has UNC Kenan-Flagler helped you achieve in your career?
"The project management skills that I developed at UNC Kenan-Flagler for being able to manage groups and 8 to 10 different projects at the same time have really paid off in my career so far. UNC Kenan-Flagler helped me develop my leadership skills. As I work with cross-functional teams, the communication skills I learned have helped me in leading those groups. I also use a lot of what I learned about developing strategies in my job. We are developing strategies to reach our core consumers to offer them something new and exciting."
"By taking those classes and working with those teams, I was able to develop the skills and knowledge base to do that effectively. In the dish development process, I work with the culinary team, finance, purchasing and culinary operations. Because of my experience at Kenan-Flagler, I've learned to cultivate these relationships early on in my career to develop favorable working relationships for the future."
How has the UNC Kenan-Flagler network helped your career?
"The UNC Kenan-Flagler network helped me in various ways. When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my career, I was able to contact alumni in marketing to help me in my transition from finance. It helped me understand what the career would entail and what I needed to do to get myself where I wanted to be. Now that I am on the other side in the job market, I am able to be that mentor for students that I depended on to help me while I was in school."