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"I'm not a conventional person," says Amy Placon, MBA 2012. "I never have been."
A native of Detriot, Amy began her professional career after earning her bachelor's degree in packaging engineering at Michigan State University, working for five years in Australia for Amcor, one of the world's largest packaging companies.
"I'd always been interested in the manufacturing aspect of international business," she says.
After starting on the technical side of the business, she soon found that she enjoyed and was skilled at working with customers, and moved to sales and marketing positions.
Amy's career eventually led her back to the United States and to Chicago, where she progressed to different positions with corporations including Smurfit Stone and BP.
When the time came to add an MBA to further her career, Amy chose the Brennan School of Business.
"Brennan had everything," Amy says. "It was the right program in the right location. I was impressed with both the professors and my fellow students."
While pursuing her MBA, Amy designed her coursework to include a concentration in international business.
Amy's focus in international business courses dovetailed neatly with her wealth of professional experience. In work involving packaging for health care and pharmaceutical sectors, Amy became increasingly aware of the disparities between developed nations and developing ones.
These initial flames of interest were fanned by her courses at Brennan, and when the chance came to travel to South Africa with one of the Brennan School's international residency courses focused on conducting business in an emerging market, she seized the opportunity.
"It only took me about five seconds to decide. I knew I would kick myself for forgoing the experience," she says. "One of the reasons I work in and study international business is that by understanding different societies, cultures, and business practices, I hope to help build an economic bridge to places that seemed so inaccessible before."
Her Brennan School experience has only fueled Amy's commitment. Following completion of her MBA, she began additional graduate study, traveling overseas to earn another master's degree in health, population, and society at the London School of Economics. Currently, Amy works in the Netherlands for SABIC, one of the world's leading petrochemical companies. In her role as a Senior Technical Marketing Engineer, she helps the company develop and grow its product portfolio for healthcare solutions (polymers used for packaging, medical devices, and drug delivery devices) to meet the changing needs in global healthcare practices.
Regarding her long term career plans, she feels "international business has so many players and things happening, what's needed is for someone to draw these stakeholders and decisionmakers together, in the same room, to discuss and make choices. I want to be that someone."
"Brennan had everything. It was the right program in the right location. I was impressed with both the professors and my fellow students. My Brennan MBA gave me the opportunity to look at myself a different way," says Amy, "and explore different options."