March 2015 Student of the Month

18 Mar

March 2015 Student of the Month

Dan Allridge

 

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Tell me a bit about yourself, including your career and academic background.

 

I was born and raised in Bloomington, IL. I stayed in state for college and received my BS from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, although I was focused more on my fledgling soccer career during my that time. After a dismal internship through the Department of Homeland Security during my junior year, I quickly realized I couldn’t work in an office right away. That’s when I decided to join the United States Marine Corps (USMC). I spend six years in the USMC as an artillery officer and joint terminal attack controller (JTAC), during which time I participated in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like many of my peers, I knew it was time to move on from the military after a few tours of duty and pursue my other aspirations in life. For the past three years, I have worked in the Biotechnology Industry focusing in operations. Through two M&A’s, I am now part of ThermoFisher Scientific. I develop and help implement our supply chain strategy around external manufacturing.

 

What first interested you in the Kelley Direct Program

 

I’ll start this off by saying I was a big naysayer of online education prior to starting work in the corporate world. My wife and I were living in San Francisco at the time, when I really started to get the urge again to pursue my MBA. I had actually gone through the MBA hunt while in the USMC and received acceptance to several top tier schools, however the job opportunity I received was too good to pass up.

Back to 2012, when I started looking to MBA programs I could complete while still maintaining a full-time job. I came to realize that I was leading cross-functional teams located all throughout the globe. If the long-distance or virtual experience was effective enough for my work, why would it not be for school? Long story short, Kelley Direct (KD) offered me everything I was looking for in an MBA

  • A well-respected business school (to include their #1 rank online)
  • Full access to their full-time professors
  • Experiential learning environment through AGILE and Kelley Connect Weeks
  • Flexibility

For me, it was all about the need for flexibility. I travel a lot, whether it be for work or social, so the Kelley Direct program would allow me to continue that lifestyle while affording me the opportunity to pursue my MBA. I’ve had the opportunity over the past two years in the program to participate in the program from eight different countries, without missing a beat. I have come full circle during the past two years and I am now a loud and proud spokesperson for the KD product.

 

Tell me about the KD HCA. Why did you found it and what is your plan with it.

 

I became a member of the KD Healthcare Association (HCA) through my participation in the KD mentorship program. I have always been one willing to take some advice or at least learn through other’s mistakes. It just so happened that my mentor was John York, who was and still is the KD HCA president. He talked me into joining and for the past year or so I have been the VP of Operations for the association.

The association has progressed over the past few years from having monthly association meetings to developing an AGILE Level 3 healthcare focused consulting opportunity.

 

Describe how you expect the upcoming KD HCA event and similar events to help you and others reach their career goals.

 

The great thing about the Kelley Direct program comes from what you make of it. You could easily go through the program, take your courses, and not engage with your peers in meaningful development outside of the classroom. However, there is so much more to gain from networking and taking part in the extracurricular activities that are available.

These feelings were the genesis for the KD HCA’s desire to create a consulting opportunity focused on healthcare. The opportunities give KD students to chance to go out into the real world and apply their learning. You can learn more about the Moffitt Cancer Center consulting opportunity on Canvas.

 

Tell me about your experience participating in an independent study credit to consult with a medical device company in the Netherlands through KD.

 

I had heard about the opportunity through the KD HCA. The original engagement with the company was a technology assessment conducted by a Kelley Direct team a few months prior. The engagement that I was a part of was a follow-up to that technology assessment.   This was a great learning opportunity to dive head first into a real-world problem.   The engagement was done completely remote, with the client in the Netherlands and the consulting team made up of four KD students. We did a comprehensive assessment of the vaccine-delivery market as well as researched potential sources of further funding for the two-man start-up. It culminated with a presentation of what our research had uncovered and the path-forward that we were recommending. The engagement afforded me the chance to put all of my KD learning up to that point into practice.

 

What advice do you have for new Kelley Direct students?

 

Bottom-line up front, make the most of your experience. For many, an MBA is not just a big financial investment, but also a turning point in his or her career. The Kelley Direct program offers you a plethora of opportunities outside of the virtual classroom to grow in your career. Take advantage the real-world consulting opportunities that the program offers. These consulting engagements are really the best way to test your mettle as a future leader in business. If you don’t see an opportunity that could enhance your specific career path, take the initiative to create it. The consulting pathway, industry-focused consulting opportunities, and association meetings around the U.S. are all a result of KD students taking their academic experience into their own hands. Phil and the rest of the KD staff are ready and willing to help us improve the program.

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