Missouri State University
Rodney Leonard

Rodney Leonard

  • Group director at Newell Rubbermaid
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Master of Business Administration, 1997

MBA provided the "motivation to maximize my career opportunities"

Rodney Leonard attended graduate school while working for a Fortune 500 company, giving him the skills to handle even larger responsibilities.

Why I chose MSU: I was originally working on my master’s degree in Atlanta, but I got promoted and relocated to Springfield while working for Kraft Foods. I didn’t want to stop my education and MSU had an amazing MBA program. I seized the opportunity to apply.

How the program helped me start my career: After I graduated, I was promoted to regional logistics manager with Kraft Foods where I led the startup of a new distribution facility in Columbus, Ohio. Three years later I moved to Atlanta as a plant manager with Coca-Cola. I was also able to travel the world and led the Asia-Pacific region for Coca-Cola’s Operational Excellence Program.

My recent career experience: In 2012 I became the global director of supply chain strategy and operational excellence at Campbell Soup Company. I got to see how all of our plants interact. I oversaw all of the different management teams that make the company successful. I really enjoy that I get to develop problem-solving skills with these managers to help us reach goals.

How MSU helped me succeed: My Missouri State education helped me to demonstrate the desire and motivation to maximize my career opportunities. Going to grad school while working full-time for Kraft, a Fortune 500 company, was tough, but it gave me confidence that I could handle larger responsibilities moving forward.

My future goals: I’ve started to realize how important it is to develop young leaders. I enjoy giving back to my community and helping young kids see their potential and strive for their goals.