Master’s in Management: Billy Murch Elliott, Cornell University (SC Johnson)

Student Name: Billy Murch Elliot

Graduate Business School: Cornell University SC Johnson College of Business

Describe Yourself In 15 Words: Former collegiate varsity swimmer, current dog owner, and identical twin with a running habit.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2019

Undergraduate School and Major: Cornell University, Communications.

Current Employer and Job Title: Carlisle & Company, Consultant.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My work on a strategy project that spanned three months and involved multiple high-profile clients was challenging and also extremely rewarding. It gave me the chance to use my marketing knowledge and new skills I learned in the management program. I was able to jump right in and make an impact something I feel fortunate to be able to do after starting my job.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: While at Johnson, I worked with a good friend of mine to create an advisory club for the MPS programs. The goal of the club was to increase student engagement, bolster student influence in program decisions, and support recruiting. At the end of the year, I received the Peer Leadership Award along with my co-founder. Getting to be at the ground level of creating a club that would help the program and then being recognized for it was an amazing experience. 

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was working in marketing in Boston after graduating from my undergrad, and while I enjoyed the nature of the work, I realized that what I liked about my undergrad classes was how they changed every semester. I started to investigate management consulting, and it checked off all the boxes I was looking for: exciting, vigorous, and varied work. With my undergrad in communications, I did not have the quantitative background needed to get into consulting, so I started looking at master’s programs that welcomed non-business undergrads. The management program at Cornell was just starting to accept applications for the inaugural class, and I loved the idea of being able to shape the program and make an impact. I completed my undergrad and minored in business at Cornell, so I knew how excellent the reputation was there.

What led you to choose a Master’s in Management over an MBA? I wanted to switch careers but did not feel ready to fully jump into an MBA. The management program gave me the flexibility to gain the necessary skills to get into management consulting, while also keeping the door open for me to pursue an MBA down the line.

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? My class in operations management gave me a great foundation in supply chain and operations that I still use on a day-to-day basis at Carlisle. Getting to do hands-on, real-world work in class made the transition to my job smoother. I also took an MBA consulting elective where the main project was to do a market expansion project for a major wine company. Having the opportunity to work on a consulting project from start to finish in a low-stakes environment was valuable and helped me to fully understand my strengths and weaknesses before starting my job.

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? The management program’s first quarter has a pass/fail course dedicated to career development which included Johnson-only events focused on networking, interviewing, case studies, and resume reviews. On top of this, we met with a faculty member who was dedicated to career advisory for the management program. 

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? Nearly all of my classes involved group work, which helped me learn how to be flexible when working with various learning styles. Much like a consulting project, new teams were formed for each class, so I received a lot of experience working with different people. In addition, with the management program’s cohort-style classes, I was able to build close relationships with my classmates throughout the year.

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? The entire Johnson faculty was amazing; they were so involved and passionate about their areas of study. One faculty member who helped me was Professor Eric Lewis. Professor Lewis was the director of the management program and he was instrumental in my decision to be a part of it from the beginning. Professor Lewis was always available to answer any questions I had, support me in my career search, and connect me with the right faculty members when my classmate and I were creating the MPS advisory club. 

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? Research Johnson and the management program and find what interests you! There are so many wonderful things about the management program and the Johnson community, and being passionate about a specific topic will help you stand out. 

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? Every Thursday, the Johnson graduate school has a networking and happy hour event called “Sage Social.” The entire school attends the event, including faculty, administration, MBA, and master’s students. My cohort made sure to attend each week, and it was gratifying getting to know the larger Johnson community.


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