Program’s Prestige Leads to Professional Growth

Adrian Wilkinson (MBA '14)

As Adrian Wilkinson (MBA ’14) considered school choices to help take his career to the next level, one thing stood out to him: the way the reputation of the Wake Forest University School of Business would resonate with his professional network and future employers.

“My No. 1 reason for choosing Wake Forest for my MBA was the school’s reputation for excellence,” he said. “This reputation is fueled in part by the leaders it produces, so I think it’s very important for alumni to stay involved with Wake Forest. Those alumni leaders can provide real-world knowledge and insight, and job connections for future alumni.”

Today, as senior manager of human resources research and analytics at Reynolds American Inc., Wilkinson uses data-driven insights to guide strategic decision-making. He credits the School of Business MBA program for helping him along the path of professional growth.

“Across the entire program, I attained a much higher level of confidence with all business-related topics,” he said. “That improved confidence has enabled me to succeed at Reynolds American and receive my first promotion after just 10 months. I don’t envision that happening without the help of my Wake Forest MBA, and I expect that same success will continue on my career journey.”

For those serious about career growth, the School of Business courses are invaluable for the way they are immediately applicable to the work world. For Wilkinson, that was particularly true in classes taught by Rob Nash, Thomas K. Hearn Jr. Professor and BB&T Center Associate.

“Rob brought real-world situations to class,” Wilkinson recalled. “He would print copies of newspaper articles, sometimes from that same morning, and tie those articles directly into the topic for that night’s class. Bringing the real-world situations was eye-opening and showed how what we were learning could be applied every day in the real world.”

The program proved an excellent training ground for Wilkinson, who achieved Academic Distinction and earned the Class Leadership Award, all while working full-time and attending classes in the evening. It wasn’t easy, he said, but it shouldn’t be. “When you put in the hard work, the program’s quality leads to a wealth of future opportunities,” Wilkinson said.

And the rigor and depth of the program forges a lasting bond between students. “Any time I see a classmate, we don’t just shake hands or say hello. We hug, because we both made it through the trenches of a rigorous MBA program together!” he said.