Kelly Morris Edney

Breaking into brand

Hometown: Lexington, Kentucky.
Former life: Estee Lauder buyer for Dillard’s.
Current career: Assistant brand manager, Procter & Gamble.
Cool fact: She coaches current MBAs in TCU’s brand management boot camp.

Coming into focus: From her career as a cosmetics buyer for Dillard’s, Kelly plotted a path deeper into the brand management field. And that new direction led to an MBA from TCU. “Even as a buyer, you’re managing a brand. You have to figure out what makes the consumer tick. But I knew a job in brand management would allow me to actually own the brand. I was excited about being responsible for the overall brand direction, rather than just the execution.”

Stand and deliver time: As a principal for TCU’s Neeley & Associates Consulting team, her job was to keep the MBA team on track to deliver the results that client Bell Helicopter expected. Now, as a seasoned brand manager, she views her time consulting and working on case studies to be a real advantage. “It’s a great experience to actually solve a business problem. You analyze what’s happening with the brand and ask how you would turn it around, not just keep it afloat. How will you grow the brand? That’s what all companies want to know. Through Neeley & Associates Consulting projects, students at TCU can show exactly what they’ve done to turn a brand around.”

Alumni in action: Kelly witnessed how the Neeley School’s alumni network—15,000 strong and global in reach—springs into action to connect new MBAs. When she was graduating, Kelly tapped TCU’s network to locate an alum at her targeted company, Abbott Nutrition. The alum offered résumé feedback, shot out Kelly’s résumé within the company and coached her for the interview. “TCU may not have hundreds of people working at Abbott or Sony, but with these big companies, you only need one alum to get your foot in the door. TCU’s close-knit atmosphere is an advantage, because now as an alumni of TCU, I’m more motivated to help out.”

Basic training: TCU’s annual bootcamp draws experienced brand managers like Kelly to teach the career specifics that can’t be absorbed from reading a textbook or sitting in a lecture. “I don't think a lot of students understand what brand management really is. It’s not a 40-hour-a-week job. It’s 50 to 60 hours. That’s just the reality, so you need to know that up front to decide if it’s truly what you’re interested in. For students, the great thing about the boot camps is that you’re making connections with TCU alumni in the careers you want. All of us have opened our doors to the students.”

Pay it forward: As an alum, Kelly remains connected with TCU. In addition to volunteering at the brand marketing bootcamp, she coaches TCU MBAs ready to break into brand management and works with a TCU intern at Procter & Gamble. Why stay involved after graduation? “I still have that personal relationship with TCU, so I love giving back. I feel like the people at TCU have done so much for me that’s above and beyond. And it’s not just one person—it’s all the professors, it’s all the staff. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today if not for TCU.”

It’s about drive: In her work with worldwide brands, she’s encountered grads from many other top business schools. So why do TCU MBAs stand out? “TCU students seem more eager and driven to succeed. Part of that stems from the personal culture at TCU. I not only wanted to do a good job for myself—we all do—but also I wanted to do well for TCU, for all the professors, my fellow students and the university as a whole.”

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“With all the one-to-one attention, I never felt like just another student. Instead, I was Kelly Morris Edney. And even though I graduated in 2008, I know I could still call anyone from TCU to seek advice or assistance.”

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