2023 MBA To Watch: Joshua McGinnis, University of Tennessee (Haslam)

Joshua McGinnis

University of Tennessee, Haslam College of Business

“A passionate freethinker who values excellence, hard work and community.”

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • The University of Tennessee – Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Marketing)
  • The University of Tennessee – Master of Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Frito Lay – District Sales Leader

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? GEP Worldwide – Knoxville, TN

Where will you be working after graduation? Elo Touch Solutions – Global Demand Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Big Orange Consulting Club – Vice President of Operations
  • Tennessee Organization of MBA’s – Director of Events

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? At the conclusion of the MBA program, my cohort voted me to receive the “MBA Team Spirit” award, which recognized the student who “. . .has contributed most to the success of the MBA teams.” The award goes on to say, “The recipient of this award displays an ability to create a collaborative and motivational environment that inspires a team to achieve its goals.” I was honored and thankful to be chosen by my peers as the recipient.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While serving as a District Sales Leader at Frito Lay, one of the Vice Presidents of the company caught wind of my work with a project I was managing. He flew out to visit me and spend time with my customers. He offered high praise for my relationship building skills with customers, my ability to manage projects in the face of conflicting priorities, and my drive to encourage growth on my team.

Why did you choose this business school? The Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee is well known for incredible and experienced staff as well as excellence in business programs, which often lead to high rankings. In addition, Knoxville has been my home for the majority of my life, and I felt that the proximity when combined with the established reputation of the program made for the perfect fit for me.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Though I respected and admired each of the professors I was lucky enough to study under in the MBA program at UT, I would choose Dr. Wendy Tate as my favorite. Her passion is contagious, her knowledge and experience are inspiring, and personality is fun and enthusiastic, which fosters a warm and uplifting learning environment.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? As an outdoor enthusiast, I love the proximity to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I enjoy rock climbing and hiking with friends, and Knoxville is the perfect spot to give plenty of access to hiking and climbing areas.

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

“Josh McGinnis was an MBA student of mine at the University of Tennessee, Department of Supply Chain Management in the Fall of 2022. The course that I taught was Procurement and Strategic Sourcing which is one of the core classes for a supply chain management concentration in the full time MBA program. In this discussion-based class, we focus on the two key strengths needed to be successful in the evolving field of supply chain management: operational and relational. These two broad skill areas are applicable to many areas of study and set the foundation for a successful SCM career.

In the MBA program, Josh excelled and was well respected (and liked) by his peers. While in the classroom, he brought with him much knowledge from his work and personal experiences. From an operational perspective, Josh performed extremely well on all assignments in a timely and highly accurate manner. His assignments were also highly creative and often challenged the ideas that were presented. The class that I teach has a strong focus on analytics, particularly financial analytics. Josh showed that he is very adept at analyzing and solving purchasing and supply chain related problems.  He would work through problems until he completely understood them and would ask questions about application. He would always help others in the class once he mastered the skills. He was also able to assess case material and determine the appropriate course of action. Josh is amazing, he was always prepared and always ready to make a significant contribution to the class discussion.

The second strength required for success in supply chain and an MBA is having strong relational and leadership skills. Josh performed exceptionally well in all group activities. He was perceived as an equal contributor to the group discussion, often acted as the group leader and kept the group on task and performing at a high level of excellence. He was well-liked by his peers and was awarded top honors in the program. He is a natural leader and has highly refined relational skills.

Josh was a pleasure to have in class. He has high energy and a professional attitude and demeanor. He is dependable, a self-starter, and very hard working. He always identifies opportunities and takes responsibility for the assigned workload. His work experiences helped his to improve his analytical, administrative, communication, and teamwork skills and he has been praised by many for his work ethic. Josh is very inquisitive and enjoys discussing many different topics and the inter-relationships between different concepts. He really likes to challenge existing ideas and discuss current issues while looking for opportunities for improvement.

Josh has an extremely optimistic attitude. He is decisive, responsible, and action oriented. He is not afraid to share his perspectives or ask questions. He is self-confident without being over-bearing.”

Wendy L. Tate, Ph.D.
McCormick Endowed Professor of Supply Chain Management
Ray and Joan Myatt Faculty Research Fellow
Department of Supply Chain Management
University of Tennessee


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