Leader of the Pack Doubles Down on Poole College
By Jess Clarke
After first visiting NC State in 10th grade, Grant Gibson decided he wanted to pursue his business administration bachelor’s degree at the university’s Poole College of Management. “I fell in love with the culture at NC State. Everybody wants to work hard and give it their best,” the 2021 graduate says.
Gibson gave it his best in the classroom and on the Wolfpack football team. “You can come here and grow,” he says. “NC State has helped me grow and spread my wings.”
Now, Gibson expects his experiences as a student in Poole’s new Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) concentration to help him spread his wings more. As he learns to leverage data insights that drive business growth, the graduate degree may also increase the return on his investment in his own career.
Supply chains and marketing analytics “go hand in hand,” he says. “Gaining knowledge in those areas will only improve my chances of getting hired in the future.”
For his bachelor’s degree, Gibson, from Charlotte, concentrated on operations and supply chain management. Using Amazon in high school sparked his interest in supply chains. And global supply chain problems and increased online shopping because of the pandemic have reinforced his passion about the field.
“Seeing all these challenges and how the world has been impacted just shows there’s a need for my business degrees in the world,” he says.
As an undergraduate, Gibson’s internship this summer in the business office of NC State University Athletics, tracking how teams spent funds, was invaluable career preparation.
“It was that opportunity I’ve always wanted, an ultimate experience,” he says. “My business degree is flexible. I like sports and business…The opportunity to work in the athletics department will help me down the line. I can see myself managing the finances of teams someday.”
In the classroom, Gibson credits Poole’s faculty with delivering relevant, real-world content — and giving ongoing support. “They really want you to do well here,” he says. “Knowing your professors actually care about you and want you to succeed means a lot.” Those caring connections also were palpable on the football team for Gibson who, with two remaining years of eligibility to play, was on the team again this year as a graduate student.
As starting center, he and other blockers have to think cohesively and communicate clearly to help the quarterback and running backs. “We have to be on the same page. With the way I know how to work with people, manage groups and work well under pressure, the things I learned on the field will carry over to the business world,” says Gibson, who loves playing on the offensive line.
In pursuing the MMA degree, he’s on offense with his career, too.
Choosing Poole for graduate school was an easy decision, he says. “NC State already has taught me so much. I’m building on what I learned as an undergraduate.”
That includes skills in teamwork and respectful communication, crucial in the degree program — and in the workplace — because students frequently work in groups.
Gibson especially appreciates having some older classmates with diverse career experiences. “Hearing their stories about work and how they’ve grown since they’ve been out of school is enlightening,” he says. “There are some very smart people in this program. I’ve learned a lot from them.”
And as with his undergraduate classes, his MMA professors are invested in students’ success. “You can tell they want the best for us,” Gibson says. “They also want us to be challenged. This work isn’t easy…But it’s an awesome experience.”
Although Gibson has received accolades in football, his contributions to NC State have been recognized beyond that. He was a finalist for the university’s 2021 Leader of the Pack award for scholarship, leadership, service and commitment to an inclusive campus.
“I knew when I chose NC State I could pursue two dreams, one on the field and one off the field,” Gibson says.
Pursuing both dreams, as a graduate student and undergraduate, has been challenging. He has learned how to manage his time wisely and keep his grades up while balancing academics, football and the pandemic’s additional stressors.
“Being able to do well with the extra things,” Gibson says, “I’m setting myself up for success in life because I believe anything that’s thrown my way I can take care of.”