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Learning to Manage People As Well As Expenses

Steel plant engineer Daniel Ampadu improves his business mettle

Daniel Ampadu
Project Engineer, Nucor Steel Gallatin

Vanderbilt Executive MBA 2017

After a promotion to Plant Engineer from Nucor Steel that took him from New York to Birmingham, Daniel Ampadu found himself in a bit of unfamiliar territory.

His responsibilities include managing capital expenditures ranging from $50,000 to $6 million, and serving as a resource for the plant’s maintenance and production departments. “Over the past five years,” says Daniel, “I have spent more time managing projects and people and less time designing, analyzing, and crunching numbers — the things that structural engineers typically do every day. I was learning from experience but not fast enough.”

Daniel’s manager, who had earned an MBA years earlier, suggested that Daniel consider returning to school. “He told me the MBA will help me understand the business decisions behind the corporate strategy, understand our finances on a deeper level, and discover ways to manage people better,” Daniel recalls. “He told me all these will help propel my career.”

For Daniel, one of the most valuable elements of the Executive MBA program has been the unique “C-team,” which brings executives with complementary areas of expertise into working groups. “I have picked up on many tidbits about presentations, Excel, finance and other things from my C-team,” Daniel says. “When I became a new father, they took that into consideration when we divided up group work. They are an example of how treat teamwork from five fairly different individuals from very different backgrounds can work together to achieve great results.

So far, Daniel believes the investment has been worth it. “If you’re only looking for something to hang on the wall, you should find an online program because that is so much cheaper. But if you’re looking to build solid networks from your classmates, learn from their varied experiences while benefiting from solid academics, Vanderbilt is the place for you.”

“When I became a new father, they took that into consideration when we divided up group work.”