Thad Curtis, MBA
Back in 2017, Thad Curtis moved his family from Alaska to Idaho to start his Masters of Business Administration degree at Idaho State University. Professors at Idaho State would agree that Thad was much more than a graduate student. As a student and beyond the graduate student work-load, Thad was always eager to seek outside opportunities whenever possible. During his time at Idaho State, Thad was a graduate assistant, a research assistant, president of the Graduate Association of Business Students (GABS) and a member of Bengal Solutions. Tyler Burch, Associate Professor of Management, stated that Thad was an “excellent Graduate Assistant. Thad not only did his assigned tasks but actively helped me improve the classes and provided suggestions and feedback on new things I was trying.” Today, Thad still lives by his “motto” of seeking extracurricular activities whenever possible. He believes that extracurricular activities creates greater academic success, greater character development and a greater interest in community involvement.
Currently, Thad works for Melaleuca in Idaho Falls. Melaleuca started 35 years ago as a small startup in rural Idaho. Today, Melaleuca has grown to a $2 billion enterprise doing business in 18 countries around the globe. It has become one of the largest catalog and online wellness retailers in North America. Thad’s official title at Melaleuca is Senior Financial Analyst. His responsibilities include providing financial and data analytical support for North America’s call center, five retail store locations and the Home Care marketing team. When asked how COVID impacted his job or Melaleuca as a whole, Thad said that because of Melaleuca’s international operations, the company was well prepared for the challenges of COVID. They were prepared to meet the demand for such products as household cleaners and antibacterial wipes when other entities had a shortage due to COVID.
When asked how the MBA program helped Thad in his career, he said it was the collaborative work that helped the most. The real-world applications that professors gave students was one of the most beneficial aspects of the MBA program. While a student, Thad worked with Cooper Norman on a marketing project and with Portneuf Medical Center for his capstone project. The opportunity to collaborate with and learn from business professionals provided a helpful training ground for his responsibilities and interactions within Melaleuca.
Thad was also involved in the International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC) in 2018. This competition certainly gave Thad some interesting talking points during interviews. In addition, this competition provided a more collaborative and team-work atmosphere which Thad views as very crucial to one’s success. He states, “Teamwork provides much better energy. Good ideas are generated by not just one person, but by the team seed.” Thad compares teamwork to growing a fruitful plant. One team member provides the seed, others provide the sunlight and dirt necessary to grow a flourishing plant. In addition, the cross-functional exposure you get while a member of the competition helped Thad in his current position at Melaleuca. This exposure gave him the general scope of understanding in areas where he does not have expertise. Because of this understanding, Thad is able to provide recommendations to other functions for the good of the company as a whole.
When asked to provide comments to students who are hesitant in becoming involved with the ICBSC competition, Thad said, “You never know until you try it.” He feels that as individuals, we limit ourselves more than what others limit us. We typically underestimate our abilities and as a student you are more capable than you think. Thad brought up the concept of “imposter syndrome” during this interview. This syndrome is what holds people back because it is the internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. Overall, Thad’s experiences with the competition and as an MBA student were very positive.
Written By: Dawn Konicek and Alex Bolinger, Co-Advisors of ISU’s International Collegiate Business Strategy Competition (ICBSC) Program