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Alum finds new purpose, passion in MBA program

Long before Bridget Brennan (MBA ‘14) came to UNC Kenan-Flagler to get her MBA, she thought of being a teacher.

After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2005 with a BA in English and French, Brennan moved to the French Alps to teach English. After a year, she realized that teaching wasn’t for her and sought a role in the language services industry.

For five years, she worked in project management at Crimson Life Sciences, a Massachusetts- based division of TransPerfect that specializes in translation services for the medical device industry. She knew she wanted to go back to school someday though, she just didn’t know what exactly she would pursue.

“After looking at different options, I decided an MBA would open the most doors,” Brennan said. “If I wanted to go back to the same industry, it would make me a more valuable contributor. And if I decided to do something else, it would make that possible.”

Her husband, who was also applying to graduate schools at the time, came across UNC Kenan-Flagler.
“It was listed on the Aspen Institute ‘Beyond Grey Pinstripes’ ranking, meaning the program went beyond traditional business education in its commitment to social and environmental impact. It was comprehensive, thoughtful,” she said. “Everything I saw about the School, I loved.”

Brennan started her MBA in 2012, while her husband started a graduate degree in physics at N.C. State University.

“There’s the self-doubt that comes with anything new,” she said of starting the MBA Program. “I felt established at my old job. The transition was about going deeper into topics I knew on a basic level through experience— understanding why a decision might be made, what the factors were.”

She quickly hit her stride, focusing on the program’s international opportunities. Through a second-year Sustainability Leadership Capstone course, Brennan traveled to Eastern North Carolina and Ethiopia to work with both non-profit and for-profit organizations that aim to benefit the greater good. The course asked “How do you apply leadership in everything you’ve learned to sustainability questions and issues?”

Brennan also worked in Brazil on a Global Business Project, a unique action-based learning course, for Eli Lilly & Co. And as a fellow at the Global Business Center, Brennan helped create programming for students, including its first ever Emerging Markets Conference.

After a round-the-world trip with her husband, Brennan will work as a consultant for Deloitte Consulting in Chicago, where she had a summer internship. The firm’s focus on sustainability and the chance to work closely with clients attracted her to the new role.

“In our sustainability capstone course, we talked about bringing your whole self to what you do. That’s how I feel like these past two years have been,” she said. “It’s something I’ll look back fondly on as one of the most enriching times of my life.”

“In our sustainability capstone course, we talked about bringing your whole self to what you do. That’s how I feel like these past two years have been”

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