Jackson Switzer

Name: Jackson Switzer

Current Employer: Albemarle Corporation

Position: New Business Development

Graduation Date: Summer 2019

Undergrad institution and degree: University of Alabama, Chemistry (also have a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech)

Favorite Place in Charlotte: U.S. National Whitewater Center

Hometown: Gulfport, MS

Dream Job: Chief Technology Officer

Connect with Jackson on LinkedIn


Master of Business Administration
What degree did you pursuing and why?

I pursued an MBA part-time, while working a demanding job as a new dad, as well as putting in 40+ hour weeks in corporate America.

This wasn’t my first experience with graduate school. In fact, I spent the first five years after undergrad earning both a master’s degree and a Ph.D., which prepared me well for my job in chemical engineering.

However, through my role’s exposure to different capital projects around the world in manufacturing, I became increasingly drawn to the business strategy side of my industry.

While learning on the job makes for great experience, I knew a more formal education would bolster my understanding of the fundamentals of today’s fast-paced global business environment while strengthening my credentials for contributing to it.

Why did you choose the Belk College of Business over others?

The Belk College of Business part-time MBA was the natural choice for me. It is a well-ranked, nationally-respected program that is located right here in Uptown Charlotte. Traveling internationally approximately 25% of the time for my job has been great for racking up miles, but made my desire to earn an MBA a logistical challenge. Fortunately, UNC Charlotte has been extremely flexible. I’ve been able to vary my course load from one semester to the next and I’ve taken advantage of the hybrid course options, which have allowed me to attend class, connect with professors and submit assignments from the road.

What lessons did you learn in your courses that you were able to apply on the job?

I work at Albemarle Corporation, a global specialty chemicals company, where I started after earning my Ph.D. in chemical engineering. As my role transitioned from process engineering to a more business development focus, I was able to recognize and apply foundational learnings from the Belk College in everything from economics, organizational design and growth strategies to stay competitive in an ever-changing global economy. Oh, and DROR – I won’t spoil it for prospective students but it’s a doozy.

What was the best part of your academic experience?

I’ve been impressed with each of my professors; they’re true experts who, in addition to teaching, are advancing their chosen field through practice, research and consultation. Networking with other classmates who are professionals in the Charlotte business community and beyond has been another benefit. I’ve enjoyed recognizing both the commonalities across industries and the areas for inspiration and professional enrichment. A highlight was this summer’s Global Competitiveness in Latin America intensive course with students from UNC Charlotte’s partner university in Monterrey, Mexico, EGADE.

How would you describe the Belk College of Business to someone considering a master’s program?

“A local program with a national reputation and a global reach.” The Belk College of Business has a local flare that makes it welcoming and convenient. While challenging academically, it leaves graduates prepared to make a global impact in business.

Anything else you want to share that may help readers learn about Belk College graduate programs?

The Center City campus is a game changer: It’s architecturally striking, technologically state-of-the-art, and most importantly for me, easy to access after work for evening classes. There is plenty of parking and it is accessible via the light rail, which is just another way UNC Charlotte demonstrates being student-focused and thinking about our needs.

Former MBA Ambassador, Jackson Switzer, traveled 25% of the time for his job, but was still able to pursue his MBA due to UNC Charlotte’s flexibility. Jackson says: “I was able to vary my course load from one semester to the next and took advantage of the hybrid course options, which allowed me to attend class, connect with professors and submit assignments from the road.”