2017 MBAs To Watch: Mary Mays, Michigan State (Broad)

Mary Mays

Michigan State University, Broad College of Business

“I’m a passionate learner and problem solver who enjoys helping others grow.”

Age: 29

Hometown: Northfield, IL

Fun fact about yourself: I ride and race motorcycles

Undergraduate School and Degree: BA in Sociology and Italian from University of Wisconsin-Madison

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Senior Procurement Supervisor at Dart Container Corporation (Mason, MI)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2016? A.T. Kearney (Chicago, IL)

Where will you be working after graduation? Sourcing Associate at A.T Kearney

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President, Graduate Supply Chain Management Association
  • Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Broad Consulting Club
  • Forte Fellow and Ambassador
  • Broad Warrior Award, May 2016
  • Outstanding First Year Student Award, May 2016

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of the time I spent mentoring and advising first year MBAs as a student organization leader. Being in a leadership position provided many opportunities to get involved and make a difference in their development and career searches.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I moved to Michigan to relocate after a company acquisition, and am most proud of the time I spent building a center-led procurement department with the executive leadership team. I was given high level responsibilities and the opportunity to develop the capital equipment procurement strategy.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Karen Sedatole – She always challenged us, and never accepted anything less than our best effort. She taught us to see the big picture and interpret information to make great decisions. Most importantly, she is an inspiration to women as a strong, intelligent, caring leader.

What was your favorite MBA Course and what was the biggest insight you gained about business from it? Value Chain Accounting and Analytics, taught by Dr. Ranjani Krishnan. This course taught me how to truly apply analytics when making operational decisions, and how to strategically approach problem solving.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Broad because I knew I wanted a leadership position in a world-class supply chain organization and MSU was the best fit. The collaborative culture and small program size also appealed to me because of the access to and close involvement of professors, peers, and administrators.

What did you enjoy most about business school in general? I enjoyed the opportunity to work with people from many diverse backgrounds. I also enjoyed learning from my peers and constantly challenging each other to be better. It was fun, it was difficult, it was rewarding – it pushed me to grow personally and professionally.

What was the most surprising thing about business school for you? I didn’t expect the culture to be so supportive and tight-knit. I have created not only an extensive professional network but also true friendships.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Find out what makes you, you. Bring that individuality along with an open and flexible mind.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Some students believe that if they don’t have experience in supply chain or if they don’t want to study supply chain, then MSU isn’t the school for them. In reality MSU is a great place for career switchers looking to get into supply chain, and also has several other concentrations if they aren’t.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I don’t have any regrets, because every step along the way led to something great. But if I had 30 hours in a day, I would have spent more time having fun with my classmates. It’s amazing how quickly the 2 years have passed.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The President of our MBA Association – Marc Palazzolo. He leads by example in everything he does, and is never intimidated by a challenging situation. What I admire most about him is his level of self-awareness and his continuous efforts to make himself a better student, professional, leader, and friend.

I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I was given opportunities to participate in high level projects at work, and realized that the brightest and best contributors in the room were MBAs. I knew I needed to take my education to the next level if I wanted to be in those positions someday.”

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…going stir crazy in mid-Michigan.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would give the students additional opportunities to study abroad. I think study abroad experience is invaluable, and MBA programs should offer multiple trips.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? My goal is to oversee the supply chain or procurement strategy as an executive for a global corporation.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I want to thank my parents and my husband most of all. My parents gave me the courage and perseverance to take risks and follow my dreams. My husband has loved and supported me unconditionally through the highs and lows of business school (and everything else in life). Along the way I have been blessed with incredible friends, and a wonderful boss and mentor who without hesitation supported my decision to pursue an MBA.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as intelligent, loyal, and joyful. As a fellow Spartan who embodies the values of our program.

Favorite book: Lean In

Favorite movie or television show: Man on Fire

Favorite musical performer: Rihanna

Favorite vacation spot: Milan, Italy

Hobbies? In my free time I enjoy running, playing soccer, hiking with my dog, and exploring the outdoors

What made Mary such an invaluable addition to the class of 2017?

“Mary is the consummate student leader. Through her strategic direction, the Global Supply Chain Management Association has doubled its professional development offerings in the 2016-207 academic year. She has planned and executed professional treks in three different states, to the benefit of over 100 MBA students this year alone. This team success is strengthened by her individual academic and professional talent, which has led to excellent academics, professional success and placing as a finalist in a recent national supply chain competition.

Professionally, Mary has developed into one of the best student consultants in the MBA program in the past five years. She balances the detailed, precise acumen necessary to be a high-powered consultant with the empathy and professionalism needed to be a leader. She is not just a singular talent; Mary has been instrumental in the push towards developing a clear student-focused training program for consulting, as well as a mini-camp to train students as to the expectations for case competitions. Regardless of the intensity of her schedule, she will always make time for a student or colleague in need. For her professional and academic success, Mary is one of our best. When combined with all her efforts to support and strengthen our MBA culture, Mary easily is amongst the top 5 percent of MBA students to come through our program since 2012.”

Wayne Hutchison

Director, MBA – Academic and Program Services



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