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Krannert People
Analytical Insight, Global Leaders

Krannert People

Kirk Smiley
Kirk Smiley

BSM '05, MBA '07
Senior Director, Partnerships and Business Development
DonorsChoose.org


What is it like working for DonorsChoose.org?
We are a team of the most hard-working, mission-driven, brilliant yet humble people who all strive to constantly learn and improve so that we help more and more students have the tools and experiences they need to get an excellent education.

What does your job entail?
I manage a team that is responsible for securing and implementing $13 million annually in corporate and foundation partnerships.  We generate innovative cause marketing campaigns with a wide variety of companies in the eastern half of the country, like J. Crew, Groupon, Build-A-Bear Workshop, and Chase.

How did Krannert prepare you for your career?
At Krannert I received a great background in strategic management, marketing, finance, and human resources that I use on the job every day. I like to think DonorsChoose.org runs more like a nimble for-profit than a nonprofit, and it's critical to my job to understand how to provide a corporate partner with value through our partnerships.

Why did you choose Krannert for both your undergraduate and MBA education?
Although I looked at a lot of different schools all over the country, including Duke and Princeton, I was impressed with the reputation at Krannert and the Purdue campus. Receiving the Beering Scholarship (a full-ride scholarship that covers all expenses for both undergraduate and graduate work) certainly didn't hurt and allowed me to complete both my undergraduate and graduate studies at Krannert.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Purdue?
I cherish my experience in a variety of campus organizations, including Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity and Mortar Board, matured a great deal by studying abroad in Oxford, England, and there's nothing quite like standing among the Paint Crew cheering on the men's basketball team.

Tell us about your favorite class or professor at Krannert.
I really enjoyed the undergraduate courses in operations management.  Although I don't work specifically in that field, I loved learning about improving processes and flow, efficiency, quality control, and kaizen (if you don't know what that means, you need to take the class!).

What advice do you have for current students?
While academics is the main reason you are at Purdue, I'd encourage you to get involved in a variety of activities and organizations.  Sometimes it's what you learn outside the classroom that can really help you figure out your long term professional interests, challenge you in new ways, and provide experiences that you can give you a leg up on the competition.