haley thatcherDrawn to the mathematical aspects of marketing as well as its behavioral components, Haley Thatcher knew her personal equation for career satisfaction needed to include Oregon State University’s MBA program.

“It’s research oriented, so for students like me, it’s definitely a fit,” Thatcher said. “There’s a lot of focus on statistics and quantitative methods and qualitative methods in doing research. And there’s other coursework, a general business set of courses, and if you’re coming from a different background that’s not marketing related, there are also general marketing courses. It’s a good mix.”

Thatcher completed her bachelor’s degree in marketing in the College of Business in June 2014. While an undergraduate, she sought information about the MBA program from Assistant Prof. Michelle Barnhart, whom she was working for as a teaching assistant.

“She told me about the program,” Thatcher said. “It was pretty new and I didn’t know about it beforehand, and she encouraged me to look into it. The more I did, I knew it was the right track for me.”

Barnhart teaches a personal selling course, “which I took as an undergraduate,” Thatcher said. “She encouraged us to network, and she brought in people from possible future business endeavors, like Jim Kuhlman, a State Farm agent who I ended up working with,” first as a three-month intern, then as an employee licensed to sell property and casualty insurance.

Thatcher started her 15-month graduate program in fall 2014.

“Ultimately I see myself doing marketing research,” she said. “I’m not too concerned if it’s for a corporation or a small consulting firm, but I do know that I want to be on the research side of marketing.

“The thing about marketing is there are a lot of ways you could be in a position where you’re working with people. It’s not just crunching numbers, sitting at a desk; you can be more creative with it, and it’s super intriguing too. There’s a lot of psychology in it.”

Thatcher continues to impress Barnhart, now one of her MBA professors.

“She’s clearly very bright,” Barnhart said. “You say something once and she gets it, she’s good at taking initiative and figuring things out, she gets tasks done quicker than expected, and she’s detail oriented on everything.”

When Thatcher went to work for Kuhlman, Barnhart said, she integrated her classroom knowledge into the workplace.

“And now she’s bringing real-world questions back into the classroom,” Barnhart said. “It’s fun to watch how she’s connected those two parts of her life.”