EMBA Alumni at Work: Starting Fresh at Disney

Ellen Morris worked at Eastman Kodak as a strategic planning manager when she entered the EMBA Program at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). She spent most of her career there and knew the company was struggling.

“I saw changes coming, and I knew what was going to happen,” she recalls, as she started plotting her next big move. “If I was going to take the next steps in my career, I needed to go back to school.”

Finding New Directions

It turns out Morris was right: Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy in 2012, leaving her out of a job after she completed just four months of her EMBA Program. “I really didn’t know what I would do next,” she says. “But the program felt like a good transition place for me.”

While continuing her classes, she secured a job at a small advertising agency. Simultaneously, she used her course work to focus on what she really wanted from her career. She valued the formal knowledge and the application of that knowledge. “I was looking to connect the dots.”

EMBA Contributes to the Dream

The EMBA Program at RIT helped her do it, encouraging and nurturing personal growth. “I had the confidence and knew I could get any job I wanted,” Morris adds. She put that confidence to work in finding her current dream job, a global consumer insight manager for the Walt Disney Company.

A clear vision of her must-haves helped Morris land the job. Her expectations included balance for her family, a product or service that interested her, opportunity for advancement, and a global and cultural perspective. The Disney position checked all the boxes (and then some).

“My job is to make sure people have fun and help create the most magical experiences of their lives,” she says. Her position has taken her to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and other global Disney destinations. The EMBA Program helped her hone her strategic skill set, and she puts her newly refined strategic and problem-solving skills to use in her everyday responsibilities. In serving as the voice of the consumer, she often looks to the future, turning to research and strategic forecast tools to understand emerging opportunities in and beyond her markets.

Morris credits her EMBA experience for her career advancement and successful transition. “How do you put a value on an experience that helps you discover what you want to do? There is no price on that. I am thankful I did it.”

Read more on the possibilities of an EMBA here, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.