A Family Affair: Nick and Liz Hall had planned to get their MBAs for a while. Both of their companies were supportive and encouraged them to pursue this educational goal.
Executive MBA - Alumni
Executive MBA - Alumni
Nick and Liz Hall had planned to get their MBAs for a while. Both of their companies were supportive and encouraged them to pursue this educational goal. They moved from southwestern Michigan to Knoxville in 2014. The decision to attend the University of Tennessee was due to many factors. Obviously, UT being local was a big pull, but most important was the desire to earn an MBA from a well-known, brick and mortar school, and Haslam had an excellent reputation. UT being a research academic institution was also extremely important in the decision making process.
Nick and Liz came to Haslam to meet EMBA-Strategic Leadership director “Doc” Michael McIntyre and contemplated starting the EMBA program at the same time. Nick’s company had to rescind their offer to sponsor him at that time, but Liz went forward with starting the program in 2016. She graduated in December of 2016.
Nick found himself in a new role with current employer Biologic USA. Part of the agreement in his taking the new position was support for him to obtain his MBA in the very near future. He was able to start the program in 2017, one year after his wife.
Nick’s Organization Action Project (OAP) centered around the rehabilitation of an underperforming product line for the company. The underperformance was the result of insufficient investment, and the main question was how to make the product-line profitable once again. Nick’s OAP focused on investment in the product-line. He researched and found additional instrumentation that they could sign distribution agreements for that would allow the company to fill out their product portfolio. They weren’t getting as high of a margin due to the fact that they weren’t manufacturing the product, but they needed to pump up the project line. Acquisition of a competitive company was investigated but ultimately discarded as negotiations fell through.
Biologic USA has now been distributing the new products for approximately a year with satisfactory results. The company and Nick realized that in order to truly make it successful long term, a cash investment for R&D was necessary. To protect the organization and help the product-line stand on its own, SpectroLogix was formed by the owners of Biologic, Nick and his wife Liz. The mission of the new company is to continue to distribute the new product lines while also developing the next generation of spectrometers.
According to Nick, one of the most valuable aspects of the program has been the connections with his fellow students. He says, “Being exposed to a large group of people who are experienced leaders with achievements and expertise, and learning from them, was fantastic. The connections formed from that experience have been extremely fulfilling.”
Nick enjoys being able to apply what he has learned on a daily basis. He feels much more strategic and better equipped to handle the pressures of his job. His leadership skills have benefited significantly from the work he did in the class and his one-on-one time with Doc.
In his research, Haileab Hilafu aims to make it easier to extract actionable knowledge from large datasets