Garrett Gregg, MBA (2004)
Garrett Gregg, MBA '04
What is your background?
After graduating with a double major in History and Spanish from Washington University (1990), I worked as a full time missionary with a non-denominational Christian soccer ministry. In 1997, I graduated from the University of California at Irvine with a Master's Degree in Spanish Literature. Instead of returning to school for a Doctorate's in Spanish Literature, I then decided to head into the business arena. I joined Fresh Express in Salinas, CA in Quality Assurance, followed by Manufacturing. I started working on a MBA in California to understand the numbers required for working in business. Once I accepted a position with Agilent Technologies in Colorado Springs, I decided to finish my MBA with the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (2004).
What were the factors that led you to pursuing the UCCS MBA?
Despite being half way through a degree at a California university, I chose to transfer to UCCS for a MBA in Finance so I could have in-class lectures. Once I took a job in Colorado Springs, I knew I did not want to complete my degree online. I learn best through in-class options and I knew that UCCS was a very good program with a strong local community.
How would you describe your experience as a student in the MBA program?
I had a terrific experience with the MBA program. I took my classes very seriously and worked hard to come prepared for every class - and I took a lot away from them. I believe you get out what you put into it your education. The professors did a great job choosing material, leading excellent lessons, and pushing us to learn. I also made a number of good friends throughout my time in the program. The MBA was a lot of fun! The classes were directly applicable to my work. It was not easy to work in a challenging high tech company while going to school at night, but it was well worth the effort!
Do you have any particular memory of a classroom experience, professor or fellow student that stands out?
I have a number of great memories from the program! I enjoyed arguing about statistical sampling methodologies with Professor Epperson during the 2000 election, as well as an in-depth class conversation over Professor Paul Miller's controversial book, "Quality Financial Reporting" in Accounting Theory. (It took a bit of work, but he convinced me that his proposals to change GAAP would lead to better financial results in our companies. Down the line, I had the opportunity to suggest to our CFO that we implement those concepts).
I also spent quite a bit of time trying to understand the intricacies of finance from Rob Weigand. In a number of classes, we covered finance theory, international finance, banking, synthetic derivatives and financial engineering, among many other topics. They were fantastic classes!
Don Warrick's classes, communication and the capstone, were other courses I took away so much from and that made me a better manager and employee.
Many of the professors have become personal friends with whom I developed a relationship outside of the classroom and in many cases we are still in touch regularly!
Can you talk about your career to date and any way your education impacted where you are today?
For the past 17 years, I have held many different positions at Agilent and Keysight. The majority of my career has been in accounting and finance - with increased roles and responsibilities over the years.
I started as an analyst, then became the Payables manager, followed by business finance and on to roles as our Americas Field Controller, a division controller for our remarketed products, and finally, as Agilent's Sarbanes-Oxley Program Manager. I joined Keysight's Sales team to utilize my finance skills with our Global Partner Organization for the past three years. I have helped to renegotiate all 180 of our distribution contracts globally and I am now our Global Rental Program Manager.
I never would have been able to advance my career without the MBA; it enables me to hold true business discussions at executive and senior levels of a company. I was fortunate to receive some honors when I graduated. These were also noted by my company and helped me to stand out as I pursued some internal opportunities.
Overall, the MBA has given me a much broader perspective on business and how a corporation works, permitting me to view things from a more holistic perspective. My studies at UCCS added tremendous depth to my skillset, especially in finance and accounting. The MBA in Finance not only opened doors for me, but also helped me perform at a much higher level.
What would you tell other professionals if they asked you about pursuing an MBA?
Today, I mentor a number of younger business professionals. I encourage those looking to pursue a management role or looking to move up in the organization to pursue an MBA. I am a very strong believer in capitalism. Understanding the theoretical underpinnings and practical ways of putting capitalism into practice in moral ways is vital to our economy, to our country, and to our world. I know of no better way to do this than to study to receive a Master's Degree in Business Administration.