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Andrea Puterbaugh | MBA '17

andrea puterbaugh, mba 2016


At the age of six, Andrea Puterbaugh knew that she wanted to explore careers in education and business. She cites her father’s own career in business and her mother’s path in teaching as major influences.

Though she was able to complete an accelerated undergraduate degree in education at Purdue University, as she researched business schools she became unsure if she was ready to take on the challenges of a graduate business degree.

“Knowing that Purdue has such a prestigious business school in the Krannert School of Management, I wondered if lacking a business background was going to hold me back. Krannert’s program is also highly analytical, which was not the background I came from,” she says.

It wasn't until she visited the Krannert School and talked to a representative, whom she described as “kind and supportive”, that Puterbaugh developed the confidence to apply.

Not long after being admitted and enrolling in Purdue’s MBA program, Puterbaugh came face-to-face with the intense rigor she anticipated. Business Analytics proved challenging, but it was an Accounting class that challenged her most. Yet it was the same supportive culture that she experienced on that first day that carried her through the challenge.

“The faculty member teaching the Accounting class actually offered to work with me one-on-one. Even at the undergraduate level, I had never heard of a faculty member helping a student like that. It was extremely valuable,” she says.

She also cites her classmates as being supportive. While the program was competitive, it was not the cutthroat environment she assumed it would be. Instead, Puterbaugh noticed a culture of camaraderie and willingness to help others permeate throughout the student body.

“I leaned heavily on my peers that first semester. It’s such a big benefit of being in a team-focused environment like Krannert’s. My classmates were critical to my success. I started to get some confidence and realized that I was admitted into the program for a reason. They saw potential in me, and I started to realize that potential myself. Eventually, I started helping others who were struggling with their classes,” she says.

With classmates from South Korea, El Salvador, India, and Lebanon in her group, among others, she was also exposed to a diverse range of perspectives that shaped her experience both personally and professionally. She now calls many of her international counterparts some of her best lifelong friends.

“I actually attended the wedding of one of my friends from the MBA program in India recently.”

Krannert also opened the door to an internship at Hormel in international marketing, which then launched into a new career after graduation. Equipped with her MBA, she was well prepared for Hormel’s lengthy and rigorous training program where she worked with teams from Wal-Mart and Amazon. In particular, the versatility of the Purdue MBA helped her handle many aspects of business. She was able to approach problems analytically, while her global experiences prepared her to work in a diverse corporate environment.

In just a few years, Andrea has been elevated to a senior analyst role and credits her MBA for the rapid rise.

“It is extremely rare for someone to step into this kind of role after being with the company for just a few years. In most cases, you have to be with the company five years or more. My personal goal is to work into a leadership role, and I feel like my MBA has positioned me well for that opportunity when the time comes,” she says. “I’d like to return to International Marketing, but I’m open to anything. And that’s the beauty of the Purdue MBA. It has prepared me for just about anything that the future holds.”

From childhood aspirations to a rapid rise in a diverse corporate environment, she is leveraging her Purdue MBA to realize her dreams.

That's Andrea's giant leap.