When Erin Brophy applied to the Haslam College of Business’s Professional MBA program, she held a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Tennessee and worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).
“I didn’t have a business background and was worried about applying,” she says. The facility where she worked was open to the public for research and development, but was being underutilized by business.
“When I looked across the board at different users I noticed that people coming from industry was only about 1 percent, and I wanted to discover why that was the case,” she says.
Brophy needed to learn about business motivations, but was initially intimidated about obtaining an MBA.
Through her Organizational Action Project, she not only helped to resolve this issue at ORNL but also learned to optimize partnerships between scientific researchers and industry.
“Industry users have a very different timing and focus,” says Brophy. “A lot of them didn’t know about us or our capabilities and the process was too long for them. I created a program that really catered to that group of users.”
Brophy now works at the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), a public/private collaboration to drive down the cost of energy efficient materials.
“I don’t think I’d have this opportunity if I hadn’t gone through the ProMBA program,” she says.
Title: Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI)
Location: Knoxville, TN
Degree: Professional MBA