Subscribe to our newsletters & stay updated
Renata Morgan spent 12 years in marketing and IT roles at Century A/C Supply in Houston. She wanted to take the next step as a company leader. Morgan originally intended to get an MBA after completing her undergraduate degree, but her goal was put off for a few years as she began her career and took time to figure out her ultimate career goals. She wanted to pursue a program with a good reputation and offered a degree that carried some weight in the HVAC industry.
That’s when Morgan discovered the Master of Industrial Distribution (MID) program at Texas A&M through her employer and was encouraged to apply.
“Having a degree from Texas A&M carries a lot of value,” she explains. “People know A&M, and they know it’s a great school. There is a high level of confidence among business leaders that any program at A&M is going to do a good job educating their students and providing the real-world knowledge they need to excel in their careers.”
Cost and relevant course material were also factors in her decision. “The MID program was more affordable and immediately applicable compared to other programs I was considering,” she says.
MID students are required to attend one week in residency each August at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. Residency Week is an intensive learning experience designed to help students form successful working relationships with their fellow classmates and faculty.
For first-year students, this is their first real introduction to the MID program. Within the first hour of classes at Residency Week, Morgan was taking extensive notes. She immediately found the information applicable to what her company was experiencing. Residency Week laid a great foundation for her experience in the MID program.
“Residency Week was really helpful,” she explains. “Because if it was your first time being exposed to many of the topics, you were getting highly relevant information. However, if it was an area you were familiar with, MID was already deepening your knowledge.”
Throughout her two years in the MID program, Morgan was exposed to courses on relevant industry subjects such as customer stratification, digital transformation, market expansion, change management, talent acquisition and profitability analysis.
“I found the Distribution Profitability Analysis course very helpful,” she notes. “This class wasn’t just Accounting 101; it was financial leadership for executives. I learned about subjects such as balance sheet reconciliations, capital investment and risk management — what they mean and how they apply to the business. I had the least amount of experience on the financial side, so digging into the topics in that course taught me a lot.”
The MID program provided Morgan opportunities to consider the effects of emerging trends and technologies on her industry and company. She credits the value-added services framework from her MID courses as a roadmap for developing and implementing added service offerings while keeping shareholder value and innovation at the forefront.
“I was able to gain a deep understanding of the ways that value-added services can be structured to create differentiation while also keeping in mind that future improvements to the service have to be deployed to sustain the differentiating effects,” she adds.
Another aspect of the program Morgan found valuable was being able to translate concepts into actions. “As leaders, we have to take an idea and communicate it to our teams in a way that allows them to see the value,” she says.
She adds that current distribution center technology trends, such as wearables and automation, can be daunting topics if not properly presented, but the experience in the MID program better equipped her to deal with these challenges.
“The MID program allows graduates to understand strategic applications of technology and relay them to team members across all levels of the organization in a way that is meaningful and inspiring, rather than overwhelming,” she explains.
Morgan credits MID for moving her career forward, even before she began the program. “Because my company knew I was going into the MID program, I was able to get a preemptive promotion,” she says.
In June 2019, Morgan was promoted to general manager of business administration. “Had I not been in the MID program, that would not have happened,” she said. “Before I had even started classes, I already had a leg up in my career.”
Not only did MID give Morgan a boost in her career, but being part of the program also expanded her professional network.
“Once I added MID and Texas A&M to my LinkedIn profile, I was getting all kinds of connection requests from people whose only common connection to me was Texas A&M,” she explained. “People always talk about the power of the Aggie Network, but I’ve seen it first-hand.”
Morgan appreciated the relevant knowledge she was learning every week in class that could be taken back to her own company.
“Everything I learned was immediately applicable,” she notes. “I was taking it back to the business. I was able to talk with leaders in other departments about my ideas. I could take specific knowledge or topics to thought leaders in the company and let them run with it.”
Morgan recently began a new role as senior manager of distribution business integration at Rheem Air Distribution. The value and experience of the MID program transformed her career path to heights she would never have expected just a few years ago.
“It’s a lot more affordable than a lot of other programs,” Morgan explains. “When you graduate, you get the benefit of a degree from a Tier-1 research institution like Texas A&M and a powerful former student network. You will get relevant knowledge from the program regardless of your role, area of the industry or focus of your job. You will walk away with a much better understanding of a B2B environment and a better resume for propelling you to future career opportunities.
“I only wish I would have gone through the program sooner; that’s my only regret.”
The Master of Industrial Distribution program at Texas A&M University is an online, part-time graduate degree for working professionals. The program includes immersive learning experiences such as Residency Week, Global Trip and Capstone Project. Learn more at mid.tamu.edu.
Kourtney R. Gruner is the Assistant Director and Capstone Coordinator for the Master of Industrial Distribution at Texas A&M University.
© 2023 All Rights Reserved