Melissa MacPhee has traveled far from her days as an undergraduate majoring in English.
In August, MacPhee will join Keurig Green Mountain Inc. as an associate brand manager in the coffee company’s headquarters in Waterbury, Vermont. The job resulted from a summer internship in which she analyzed and developed new “indulgence brands” and markets for K-cup packs—those prefilled coffee filters inserted into single-serving coffeemakers.
The internship morphed into a part-time job during her fall semester at the Carroll School and, now, a full-fledged career. The internship “was a fantastic experience because of the responsibility and because it was hands-on,” she said.
MacPhee, at 26, is the consummate example of a student who entered the BC MBA program with “soft skills” and emerged with the analytical and statistical skills that she’ll need to advance in a business world increasingly driven by Big Data. She graduated in May with an MBA and a specialization in business analytics.
“The weak part of her background was the quantitative, data-driven stuff, but she just dove into that head-first,” said Dean Jeffrey Ringuest, who teaches the course Analytics for Managers—and taught MacPhee.
MacPhee has, by all accounts, pursued her studies successfully and with aplomb, rather than stress. She earned a Phi Beta Kappa along with her 2009 bachelor’s degree in English from Hamilton College in central New York State and then received a Dean’s Scholarship from the Carroll School.
Her new job at Keurig is nevertheless an unlikely outcome, given her job experience prior to entering the MBA program. In 2010, she accepted a marketing position at the Blood Donor Center at Massachusetts General Hospital for two years, and, before that, supervised the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum’s silent auction of donated items.
One secret to her success at the Carroll School has been her openness to considering various opportunities, a trait that is critical in the current, challenging job market, said Marilyn Eckelman, MacPhee’s career adviser and Director of Graduate Management Career Strategies.
“She’s incredibly talented, very smart—really at the top of her game academically,” Eckelman said. “But I think she really wanted to figure out how to use all this wonderful energy. She wasn’t somebody who led with, ‘I want a certain title or a certain salary.’ She took a more holistic view of what the future might hold and created different options for herself.”
Future Carroll School students can learn from MacPhee’s tenacity and eagerness to develop her analytic side. But in addition to her example, she offers one crucial piece of advice.
“The world is your oyster,” she said, “so don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.”