One MBA student’s path: From medicine to marketing

Kelly Davis, MBA '18

Kelly Davis, MBA ’18

Kelly Davis, MBA ’18, had her career all set. A 2012 graduate of the biology program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, she had been accepted to medical school and was ready to begin studying to be a doctor.

Then Hurricane Sandy struck the U.S. Northeast that fall, and the 26-year-old from Geneva, Alabama, knew she had to help.

“In Alabama, especially in lower Alabama, we get hurricanes all the time … so I really wanted to help out with that cleanup effort. I actually deferred my acceptance for a year to move up here to New York City to help with that.”

Things didn’t work out as planned. Davis was supposed to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the job never materialized. With a year to kill, she began looking for work and landed a position as a research coordinator with a city medical center.

That’s when her thoughts about a medical career began to change.

“What I went through there was nothing short of horrible,” Davis said. “I decided to leave the medical industry altogether. I canceled my acceptance and everything.”

She began working with friends at a startup boutique private equity firm doing marketing, even though that was not her background. The work, she said, was a “huge learning experience,” one she truly enjoyed.

Eventually, she decided to pursue her MBA with a marketing concentration.

“I want to fill in that gap in my education—to start becoming a more sophisticated business person, get some marketing practices that have a foundation in something besides my intuition,” Davis said.

Unfortunately, her background in biology proved to be a stumbling block at some schools.

“When I was interviewing … a lot of times I found myself having to almost defend my background,” Davis said.

Fordham was different.

“They were extremely excited to see a different background,” she recalled of her experience with the admissions team.

The faculty, too “has absolutely blown my mind,” Davis said. “They are definitely a huge reason I chose to go here instead of any other place.”

Davis is looking forward to getting to know her classmates and establishing relationships in the field she has grown to enjoy. Maybe, if her new contacts are lucky, she’ll share the results of her baking skills while watching college football, two of her passions. But don’t expect to find out what’s in those treats.

“I have a few award-winning recipes that some of my restaurant friends here have tried to steal from me,” she said, laughing. “As a family recipe, I cannot give it away.”

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