The flexibility a business degree offers is one of its most valuable and attractive aspects. It can open doors for you in virtually any industry.
Whether it’s traveling the world teaching yoga, making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged students in East Harlem, or having your sights set on becoming a brewmaster, Warrington alumni have taken their careers in exciting and unconventional directions.
Here are three stories of Business Gators taking the road less traveled…
Just listing Trevor Gribble’s activities are exhausting—let alone performing them: Competing in Ironman Triathlons. Traveling all over the world. Pursuing a UF MBA.
Yet, it was Gribble’s (MBA ’10) most relaxing passion—yoga— that has brought him the most happiness.
“Since high school, I was always passionate about teaching and coaching others with literally any topic which I understood, but I never had the right strategy to effectively harness this energy,” said Gribble, 33, who has led yoga expeditions in the Himalayas. “After studying yoga in India, I finally had the toolset to make a healthy and positive impact upon anyone with whom I might cross paths. I haven't looked back in five years.”
Motivated by UF MBA’s Global Immersion Experiences to Argentina and Russia, and a study exchange in Hong Kong, Gribble headed to China immediately after receiving his UF MBA. But his position as Director of International Operations for a fantasy sports company didn’t meet his expectations, and he struggled with stress. His only respite was a weekly yoga class.
“I began spending my entire week looking forward to those 90 minutes, and a seed was planted to make the commitment stronger,” Gribble said.
After a brief stint as a yoga instructor in Tampa, he jettisoned for Australia—along with his then-girlfriend, now fiancé, Amanda. They conducted SWOT analyses (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) of where to establish their business, and decided on Brisbane, which Gribble said “was far and away the perfect spot for us to land.” Since then, the nomadic couple has applied those same strategies accessing yoga communities around the world, including New Zealand, India, the Middle East and much of Europe.
“Much of our success is due to in-depth market analysis and strong networking ability, both of which were skills that I enjoyed improving during my time at UF MBA,” Gribble said.
Ryan Scheb’s career trajectory seemed pre-ordained when he enrolled at UF: Earn a Warrington degree, then a law degree, and venture into either the business or legal sectors.
But that course took a dramatic turn after graduation. Scheb’s newfound passion—teaching students from low-income households in East Harlem—is providing a career fulfillment only a lucky few can understand.
“My biggest goal was to find a home,” Scheb said. “I know, unequivocally, that I found it.”
Scheb, 26, was introduced to Cristo Rey through his uncle, Brian Heese, the school’s Director of Corporate Work Study. When Scheb investigated Cristo Rey, its distinctive strategy and successful tradition, he was hooked. He also believed the experience would shape him personally.
“I realized I’ve been privileged throughout my life,” Scheb said. “I wanted to do something that would help expose me to the world outside where I came from. There isn’t a more drastic change than from Sarasota to East Harlem.”
Scheb had no teaching experience when he began at Cristo Rey in 2012, but he found the skills and knowledge he acquired at Warrington to be essential.
“Through FLA (Florida Leadership Academy) and being a TA [Teaching Assistant], I had a lot of experience leading people, and there are a lot of similarities in leading a classroom.” Scheb said. “I think it naturally plays to my strengths.”
Connect with Ryan on LinkedIn
Chris Kurtz’s theory for progressing at Anheuser Busch-InBev is elegantly simple.
Said Kurtz: “What better way to advance at the company than learn how they make the product.”
And what better way to learn about what Anheuser Busch-InBev makes best—beer—than becoming a brewmaster.
Kurtz certainly has his sights set high—a familiar altitude for a former U.S. Air Force pilot. Anheuser Busch-InBev employs only 12 brewmasters in the U.S., one for each of its regional brewing facilities. Kurtz currently serves as a Business Process Manager at Anheuser Busch-InBev’s plant in Fort Collins, Colo., and is enrolled in its Brewery Development Program.
“I wanted a foundation of how the company works, from the brewing to the packaging to how they roll it out,” said Kurtz, 32. “There are a lot of leadership opportunities in the breweries.”
The position of brewmaster has a romantic connotation, but a brewmaster’s days aren’t occupied with smelling hops and admiring the rich color of the beer they just helped create. It’s a complex position that requires knowledge in production, sales, logistics, and a myriad of other areas. The leadership Kurtz gained while serving in the Air Force, along with the business skill set he acquired at UF MBA, has him on the path for one of those 12 coveted positions.
“It’s not a boring gig at all, and I wouldn’t be here without the UF MBA network,” Kurtz said.