Skip to Content

Darla Moore School of Business

MBA alumna rounds out business skills to advance to chief operating officer

Moore School alumna Karen Canup (’20 MBA) decided to obtain her MBA to expand her business knowledge and take on more responsibilities in her position as chief financial officer for a South Carolina college.

When Canup enrolled in the Professional MBA program in 2018, she was the CFO at Sherman College of Chiropractic in Spartanburg, South Carolina; after her first year of coursework, she was promoted to chief operating officer in conjunction with her CFO role.

“I enrolled in the Professional MBA program in an effort to update and hone my skills to help me better perform my role of CFO and in hopes that I would be able to expand the scope of my role,” Canup said.

Although Canup was in the midst of a full-time career, she said that obtaining her MBA had always been a goal of hers, and she felt that it was the right time.

“The application process was very simple,” she said. “I attended one of the information sessions at the USC Upstate campus, and the recruiter who hosted the session was very helpful in guiding me through the process.”

Canup was able to utilize the GMAT waiver because of the years of work experience that she had which made the application process easy and fast.

“I had taken the GMAT a number of years ago when I initially considered graduate school, but my scores were not recent enough for consideration,” she said. “However, my years of work experience made me eligible for the waiver, so I did not have to retake the GMAT. This expedited the process and allowed me to go from attending an information session to being accepted into the program in a matter of weeks. “

Canup said that the skills and knowledge that she acquired from the Professional MBA program assisted her in getting promoted and expanding her role with Sherman College of Chiropractic.

“The PMBA program has improved my analytical skills and provided a framework for assessing opportunities and potential solutions,” she said. “The program is so diverse; it also helped me grow my ‘people skills.’ I found the human resource classes extremely beneficial, especially for someone with an accounting background.”

Having the ability to learn and collaborate with professors and other professionals in the program allowed Canup to develop her knowledge about different aspects of business.

“One project that was particularly insightful was the strategy analysis we were required to prepare on our organization,” she said. “The project required a careful assessment of how our current employer competes in its industry and how effective this strategy is. This project, along with the insight offered by our professor and discussions in class, led to strategic enhancements.”

Canup said she plans on taking the skills that she learned from her courses and directly applying them in her new role to bring improvements to Sherman College of Chiropractic.

“I love my job, so I see myself still at Sherman College of Chiropractic five to ten years from now, but I hope to also see that I have been a part of bringing continuous improvement to the college as we strive for excellence,” she said.

Although it seemed daunting at first to go back to school while working full time and juggling family life with her husband of 24 years, Dave, and their two children, Raleigh, 20, and Rachel, 17, Canup said she is thankful she decided to enroll in the Professional MBA program. She encourages other professionals who are considering getting their MBA to apply because the program will help broaden their skillset.

“Just do it,” she said. “It seems very intimidating to take on the challenge of the PMBA program while in the midst of a full-time career, but it is an awesome learning experience and so worth the effort!”

-Claire McGrath

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.