Navigating Many Cultures
Adam Tank, Eller MBA ’15
By Maura Jensen
Adam Tank, a first-year student in the Full-Time Eller MBA program, has had many professional stops along his route to the Eller MBA program. He earned his undergraduate degree in 2010 and has worked for two different companies in the U.S. and abroad since. After developing his skills in the MBA program, he plans to explore new countries and different parts of the United States.
Growing up in Texas had a big influence on Tank. Speaking Spanish from an early age and being in contact with Hispanic culture in his hometown was an important experience that he said taught him to appreciate different cultures and different parts of the world. “Many of my friends were Hispanic and I always enjoyed being a part of their culture. I really think these early experiences shaped my desire to see other parts of the world,” he said. When he moved to Kansas at the age of ten, the population was less diverse. While he was earning his degree in microbiology at Kansas State University (KSU), he was given the opportunity to travel during his summers. Tank volunteered in Mexico for one summer through a program at the School of Leadership Studies at KSU, and said he was “hooked on traveling” after that. Another summer, he completed an internship with General Mills in Ohio.
Upon graduation, he joined General Mills as a quality engineer. From there, he transferred to Bazzar, a gourmet food retailer based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. “The most rewarding part of living in Brazil was the exposure to so many different types of people,” he said. “Figuring out how things worked and how to navigate the culture was a blast.” Tank’s job at Bazzar was to get their factory up to standards so that they could begin exporting their products to European countries and the United States – which is where he ended up next, in New York City, where he was focused on launching Bazzar stateside.
It was while still working for Bazzar that Tank decided to pursue his MBA. One of the biggest draws to an MBA program was the opportunity to develop his sales and communications expertise. Tank had always worked in quality and engineering positions, but felt that his real passion was in sales and marketing. He was particularly attracted to the top-ranked McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. “The Eller MBA program teaches a well-rounded set of business skills that I haven’t been exposed to before,” he said. “Because of the focus on consulting projects, I will have many opportunities to use these skills in the real world.”
Just a few weeks into his first year, Tank has already joined several student clubs and has plans to enter two case competitions, including Cerebration, hosted by the National University of Singapore. He’s also looking for an internship this summer, aiming for a sales position on the West Coast. In the short term, Tank plans to work for another consumer packaged goods company where he can put his newly acquired MBA skills to the test.
His experiences abroad have given him a cultural awareness that has inspired him to help people in other countries. “I came to understand that despite the cultural differences, we all had more in common with each other than we had differences between us,” he said. In the long term, he plans to create his own company that will help people in other countries learn business skills to improve their own communities.
Top photo, of Brazil’s iconic Christo Redentor statue, by Adam Tank.