Meet Warrington’s MBA Class of 2017

Bradley deBorde Florida

Brad deBorde

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

Hometown: Orlando, FL

Undergraduate School and Major:

University of Florida, Industrial & Systems Engineering


Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:

PepsiCo: Supply Chain / Operations Future Leader Intern

Philips Healthcare: Supply Chain Resource Intern

Where will you be interning this summer?

This summer I’ll be working in St. Louis with Anheuser Busch InBev.

What led you to choose the University of Florida for your full-time MBA?

When I decided to pursue an MBA, I first focused on universities that had strong technical pedigrees. While some MBA candidates use the degree to change career paths, I wanted a program and curriculum that could dovetail with my engineering background and amplify my awareness of the business world. As an engineer, I wanted a program that had proven success in educating and placing other engineers. The University of Florida fit the bill exactly.

Thanks to its close partnership with the College of Engineering, at UF I had an avenue right out of school to balance my technical skill set with business acumen. This unique relationship made the opportunity possible for me. However, the combination of UF’s other offerings really sealed the deal. In particular, UF’s Career Services team, full of experienced corporate recruiters from a wide variety of industries, is hyper focused on finding roles that both suit each individual candidate’s strengths and allow for growth in new ways. The size and selectivity of UF’s class was also appealing. My cohort has 31 students in it, which means that over these last few months I’ve been able to not only make lasting relationships with my classmates, but also benefit from an unparalleled amount of 1:1 time with our career coaches, professors, and academic advisors. All in all, the ROI presented at UF quickly outweighed other programs.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the program so far?

Expanding my network has been hugely powerful for me this year. Our full-time program has just over 100 students in it, so each one of us brings a new perspective, insight, and story to the table. Another accomplishment I’m proud to show is that I’ve adapted my learning style to be more global and flexible. After four years of strictly engineering classes, I became accustomed to a certain format of lecture, to a certain type of question being asked, to a certain way of tackling problems. At UF, I’m now in classes with former teachers, military, accountants, entrepreneurs, doctors, lawyers, etc., who all view lectures and problems in a profoundly different way than I do. As such, I’ve been exposed to and have adjusted the way that I approach complicated problems thanks to the widened perspective that my classmates can offer. Finally, my involvement within the program (and namely within our MBA Association) has allowed me to continue to hone my leadership style and capabilities through practical experience.

What advice do you have for applicants in applying to a school, taking the GMAT, writing essays, doing admission interviews, and getting recommenders to write letters on your behalf?

First, if you’ve decided to pursue an MBA, get started on your applications ASAP. Give yourself the homework of studying for the GMAT and hold yourself accountable to that schedule. Once you’ve outlined a GMAT training regimen, scheduling the test cements in your mind the weight of preparing and will discourage you from pushing back any self-prescribed deadlines.

With that out of the way, I tried to view my application as a written biography. I wanted to present a diversified profile of who I am as an individual, student, and leader. To this effect, each touchpoint, or chapter, within this book should offer something new to the reader. Your resume speaks to your work history and qualifications; your transcript shows your educational credibility; and finally the recommendation letters and essay serve to illustrate parts of your character that cannot be discerned through bullet points and grades. Some schools will stipulate that you need X letters from an academic person, Y letters from someone who knows you well, Z from former employers, etc. Ultimately, each letter should yield a new angle in your ‘story’ so that the admissions team can discover a full and accurate concept of who you are.

What advice do you for students to help them thrive their first year of business school?

GET INVOLVED. For some professionals adjusting to the pace of college life again, the idea of student organizations, college athletics, or volunteering might be somewhat alien. But I cannot stress enough the importance of engaging within your program. In all likelihood, this is your last time to attend a university, which means this is the last time wherein you have such an unbelievable amount of opportunities available at every turn. You can join interest clubs as a member or serve as a leader and contributor. You can volunteer and give back to the community. You can attend free concerts, music and food festivals. You can participate in intramural sports….the list goes on. In my opinion, not ingraining yourself in your school’s culture is the biggest mistake a graduate student can make. Remember, you can only get an MBA once, so by investing yourself into your school’s rich culture and investing time in your classmates, you can make your cohort small, create strong bonds, and learn more than just business skills.

What would you ultimately like to achieve before you graduate?

In short, I want to glean as much as I possibly can from the program. My goals before graduation are to form many friendships with my peers, to strengthen my weaknesses, and build upon my inherent strengths. To get there, I aim every day to diversify my experiences so that I can handle anything that is thrown at me from a business standpoint. In these two years, I aim to capitalize on my goals to balance out my engineering foundation with more business-related knowledge base and I feel confident that UF MBA is the vehicle to propel me there!

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