2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Ryan McEnaney, University of Georgia (Terry)

Ryan McEnaney

University of Georgia, Terry College of Business

“Part-time athlete and sports enthusiast, full-time husband, Christian, and hard worker committed to improvement.”

Hometown: Statham, Georgia. It is just outside of Athens, Georgia, so I’ve cheered for the Dawgs for a long time.

Fun fact about yourself: I recently started playing professional pickleball tournaments. I played basketball mostly, but when COVID shut down gyms, I picked up pickleball and have worked up to pro tournaments.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Georgia Terry College of Business, BBA in Management with Emphasis in Supply Chain Operations, Minor in Sports Management.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? WestRock Company. Supply Planner Level 3.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? AT&T in Dallas, Texas, as a Lead Supply Chain Planning Analyst

Where will you be working after graduation? AT&T in Dallas, Texas, as a Lead Supply Chain Project Analyst

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Recipient of the Terry Excellence Fund Scholarship
  • Recipient of International Residency Scholarship
  • Recipient of a full-tuition Graduate Assistantship
  • Recipient of the Frank and Nancy Moore Scholarship for most outstanding Management student
  • Georgia MBA Ambassador: Represent the school to incoming and prospective students interested in the program
  • Mentor for the Georgia MBA program for first-year students
  • MBA advisor for undergraduate supply chain advisory board at Terry
  • Consulting club member in the MBA program
  • UGA Workforce Diversity Certificate
  • Leadership Fellow Program
  • Nonprofit work
    • Food Bank of Northeast Georgia
      • Help them determine what to do with a piece of machinery they own.
    • Athens Area Humane Society
      • Attempt to expand their pet transportation program.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? One of my proudest achievements at UGA is helping start and found the Supply Chain Advisory Board at the Terry College. This board started my senior year of UGA undergrad and has grown since then. The board is a collection of Terry’s top supply chain students and has corporate board members (companies) who join for an inside track to prospective employees. The board’s goal is getting jobs for top students and improve UGA’s supply chain experience by learning what changes are happening in the business world from corporate members. The board gathers partners from all aspects, including supply chain, operations, logistics, manufacturing, service operations, consulting, and software to meet the changing needs in the industry. This board helps numerous UGA students land terrific jobs, offers guest lectures from industry professionals, and recently started scholarship funds for students on the board.

Returning to UGA in the MBA program, I was a speaker at board events and was an MBA advisor for the student-led board. While working at WestRock, I was a corporate board member and attended semi-annual meetings to stay aligned with what the board was doing. Helping found the board and seeing it go from five companies to now 35+ companies with 80+ individual members has been a rewarding experience I hope continues to flourish after I leave the school.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of landing a job post-MBA for AT&T. It’s the company I wanted to be with and am most excited to work for. I’m proud of landing it because of the work it took getting there. While at WestRock, I ran and completed projects each year. During my last year at the company, I completed four process improvement projects that allowed me to achieve my Yellow and Green Belt certifications. The projects led to large savings for the company and earned me recognition as WestRock Supply Chain Project Leader of the Year.

After going into the MBA program, I went through numerous interviews and discussions with companies to land the internship I wanted over the summer. While at AT&T, I used my WestRock project experience to complete a project we implemented mid-summer and were able to track and adjust results. This project was a huge success and was immediately actionable. With the results from the summer, I received a return offer and earned a position my wife and I are excited about for my professional career.

Why did you choose this business school? I always wanted to return to school for an MBA, even when starting undergrad. Since I went to the University of Georgia in undergrad, I knew about the prestige of the business school; it seemed a no-brainer to come back to take advantage of its constantly improving program. The prestige, coupled with UGA’s superior alumni network, were big draws for why I wanted to come to UGA.

However, I applied to the school while finishing my UGA undergrad because I wanted to start the MBA directly after graduation. The program gave me insight into why I should get work experience before returning, which I understand even more and am extremely thankful for. The MBA program did offer me to be the first person to take advantage of their 2+2 program. This program gives UGA undergraduate students who want to return for their MBA an opportunity to apply while in college, and, if accepted, work for two or three years and return for two years to earn their MBA. I was accepted into the program, and after working for a couple of years (I ended up working close to three), was guaranteed a spot. This was a big draw to help me figure out and plan the next few years in my business, educational, and professional career.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? My favorite MBA course was Business Government and International Economy taught by Professor Laura Sawyer. Professor Sawyer was engaging in teaching the material and driving the discussion in each class. This course was case- and discussion-based, where each class we read a new case on a country and discussed the economic climate they were under. I loved the course because it gave me a deeper understanding of why economies work the way they do and how governments are involved in decisions for their people. Grasping changes in interest rates, exchange rates, international trade, politics, monetary and fiscal policy, and macroeconomics is vitally important going into leadership positions at large companies post-MBA. The class adds value going into my career.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? It may be too early to call a tradition, but, my favorite event was our MBA program renting out the backroom of a restaurant for both (yes, both) national championship parties we were able to be a part of in my time here. It showed our business school works hard and plays hard. Our students secure great jobs and internships and help the program improve and rise in the rankings while also having fun. We held traditional tailgates for each football weekend with the program, but winning two championships and hosting with friends was a great experience, especially since I have been a UGA fan and lived in the area for a long time.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? When I first got to the program, I dove straight into schoolwork and job preparation with interviewing, applying, etc. While these are good things, I went overboard and couldn’t dive into the social aspect of gaining relationships with future work colleagues. I missed numerous MBA program events in the first semester and could have gained more connections in the second year if I committed to that aspect of the program.

What is the biggest myth about your school? With UGA next to downtown Athens and the school heavily sports-focused, I think a lot of people look at UGA as a party or football school. Georgia is very good at football, especially recently, and the MBA program does enjoy having a good time. Still, it is a prestigious school that continues to improve in every aspect. The Terry College of Business improves its MBA program and rises in the ranks each year.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Athens, Georgia, has a great culture. My favorite is the food options. There are so many unique restaurants and few chains. It is a great spot to try exciting, new food places no matter which area of town you are in. Couple great food options with love for the Bulldogs and you can’t go wrong.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? My registration process was unique since I applied for the MBA program while an undergraduate and was admitted to the 2+2 program. Going to the school in person and meeting the admissions team helped set me apart. Getting face-to-face interaction and discussing my future goals left a good impression on the admissions team and helped my application.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? There are many classmates I admire and who taught me much during my time in the MBA program. The person I most admire is Robert (Bob) Charles Dyer. Bob was in my project group for every class in the first semester and most classes in the second semester. I got to know him well and saw how hard he worked in school and on the job front. He came from a non-traditional background — as a professional golfer — and dove into the business world full force. I admire Bob decided he needed to graduate early to better support himself and his fiancée, and he worked extremely hard to take extra hours in his second and third semesters to meet school requirements. Bob managed these extra hours while interviewing to find a finance internship which turned into a full-time. It is admirable.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I want to manage a team, ideally three-to-five years after starting my job post-MBA. I’ve worked with many managers and team members, and with the variety of leadership and team working styles I encountered, I know I can lead a successful team. Second, I want to maintain a healthy lifestyle with work-life balance as I advance. I value time with my wife, and if we start a family, I want to be able to be there. I am an active person who enjoys working out and playing sports almost daily. Through sports, I gained a community to surround myself with no matter where I go.

What made Ryan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“As a faculty member, I cannot say enough good things about Ryan. He was an outstanding student who often shared his work experience as a Supply Planner at WestRock which was specifically relevant to my Operations Management class, helping other students with the concepts. He also served as my graduate assistant doing any number of projects that we needed. One specific project was to help me find and research non-profits in Athens, Georgia that needed help with fundraising and marketing. I needed projects for my undergraduate students to do as part of an experiential learning requirement for my new Lessons in Leadership course. This was a new class for me and I did not know how to do this so Ryan did the research, made numerous emails and phone calls, created a spreadsheet for me, and met with me several times regarding his progress. Ryan even reviewed the books I was considering for the course. Ultimately, Ryan’s work allowed me to add this project component to my class and we were able to raise over $50,000 for those non-profits. Ryan is one of the smartest, hardest-working students I have ever seen and will have an outstanding future in front of him!”

Martin Parker
Senior Lecturer, Department of Management


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