Michael Todd

Current employer: University of Virginia

Current position: Executive Associate Dean & Chief Operating Officer

Graduate Degree: MBA

Favorite Place in Charlotte: Reedy Creek Park

Hometown: Warrensburg, MO

Undergrad Institution & Degree: University of Missouri – BS physics, BA mathematics, BA Russian language, BA economics; University of Virginia – MA physics

Master of Business Administration
MBA alumnus Michael Todd is the Executive Associate Dean and Chief Operating Officer for the University of Virginia. Michael is actively involved in the business community and his advice to current Belk College of Business students is to: “Treat people fairly. It’s amazing how small the world seems to be later in your career.”

What led you to pursue a graduate degree at UNC Charlotte?

The Belk College’s MBA program had a strength in finance, attracted other talented students whom I could work with and learn from, and had flexibility that would allow me to finish while working full time.

What were some of the highlights from your program experience?

I was fortunate to be involved with the student-managed investment fund serving as chief administrator. There’s no substitute for active learning.
Academic highlights included learning about derivatives with Dr. David Mauer and Dr. Dolly King’s excellent advanced corporate finance course.

What was your first job after graduation?

Associate Vice President for Research, University of North Carolina System

How has your degree helped you advance in your career?

Whether forming academic-industry partnerships or leading operations for large university units, I am constantly drawing on my MBA skill set.

What lessons have you learned from your degree that you are able to apply on the job?

Meaningful, effective organizational strategies demand clear priorities…and not everything can be a priority. Spend the bulk of your time and energy on the areas in which your organization has a competitive advantage. Find your niche(s) and dominate.

What aspect of the Belk College best prepared you for your career?

The MBA experience as a whole was a time for personal and professional reflection. I’d been fortunate to have some early career success, and the mid-career MBA was a time to slow down a bit and map out a strategy for the next phase of my career.

What advice do you have for current Belk College students?

I’d rather have their advice, new ideas, and fresh perspectives. But since you took the time to ask, it’s only polite to answer.

I’d say keep feeding the energy and momentum that brought you to the MBA program. In some ways, nothing should change when you graduate. What are you going to learn next? What project is worthy of your passion? How are you going to help your teammates succeed? If you feel you’ve “arrived”, check that you’re not stagnating.

Treat people fairly. It’s amazing how small the world seems to be later in your career.

Are you engaged in the business community outside of work? Which organization or activities?

Yes, I serve or have served on a range of scientific, economic development, and non-profit boards. NC Biotech Center, Highlands Biological Station, Cooperative Institute for Climate & Satellites, Center for Design Innovation, Virginia Engineering Foundation, and a few others.

Was there a faculty member who served as your mentor and who positively influenced your path?

Dr. Judson Russell is a phenomenal teacher and mentor. His enthusiasm for lifelong learning is an inspiration, and I’m still working through the reading list he gave me. Beyond the (excellent) courses, he was a great sounding board for career plans. Thanks, Doc!

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