Willamette MBA graduate spotlight: Brandon Nash MBA’12

by Patti Whitcomb,

Alumnus: Brandon Nash, MBA’12

Profession: Business Consultant at Avantiico

City: Woodland Hills, CA

Prior to Atkinson, you had a successful career in journalism/broadcasting. Tell us about that pivot and how that specific background has helped you.

The broadcast industry taught me how to work well under pressure with short deadlines in order to turn out a story. That skills transferred very well. Even today, it helps me to not become overwhelmed.

What led you to pursue your MBA?

I wanted to get out of broadcasting, but I thought I lacked skills that would allow me to transfer to other industries. Media and communications felt confining to me and although I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I thought an MBA would provide me the tools to break into whatever I eventually decided on. I’m very task oriented, so I was willing to do whatever it took.

What are the top three things you got out of your graduate experience/degree?

  1. Job
  2. Transferable skills
  3. Uncovered aptitudes I didn’t know I had such as accounting, finance and project management

Did you expect those things or did anything surprise you?

I was surprised about my presentation skills. I was used to “presenting” in front of the camera about a news story, but I didn’t think it would translate to new subject matter. I learned that I am capable of taking any subject matter, spending a little time with it and then being able to confidently present it.

What gets you most excited about your consulting career?

I love gathering the requirements, designing the solution and then knowing/having the certainty that there’s a solution or design that will make the client’s life easier. It’s fun and feels good to know you have the tools or expertise to help someone else.

If someone were interested in a similar career path, what would you tell them to pay attention to or focus on in their MBA program?

Work on paying attention to detail. The client is focused on the details. You need to pay attention to not just how your solution will get the client from Point A to Point B, but also to communicate and execute the sub-details of A1, A2, A3, and so on.

What would you like people to know about consulting that they may not realize?

There is flexibility if you are in control of your goals and lifestyle. It is easy to fall into working around the clock and letting your job rule your life, but you must be able to set boundaries with your project manager and client. Because I’ve learned how to properly dedicate my time, I’m able to be an involved husband and father, I take care of myself and do my job well.

After seven years of experience with your MBA, how is its value holding up?

I’m right in the mix. I feel like I am qualified to reach for any job I desire and I know how to tailor my resume to make myself an attractive candidate.

What’s one way you think business/management schools could or should change as our world evolves?

We’re such a digital world now. MBA students need to be equipped with an adequate level of technical expertise and perspective. The soft skills are still essential, but this is equally important.

Who were some influential people from Atkinson who made your experience more meaningful, successful or more fun?

Larry Ettner — Everything he talked about turned out to be true. I worked hard to impress him!

Nicole Thibodeau — She made accounting fun and easy to learn.

Henry Bi, Elliot Maltz, Rob Wiltbank, Judy O’Neill, Beth Ursin, and all the staff were so great!

If a fellow alum or student wants to connect, are you open to that?

Always!

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