Kelly Gardner

Executive MBA ’20

HometownParker, CO

Pre-Daniels Experience: Prior to working at PwC, I was a consultant at Accenture from 2007-2011.

Current Job Title: Management Consultant at PwC.

Hobbies: Racquetball, snowboarding, working on cars, and working around my house.

Check out my LinkedIn Profile

If you could tell your past-self one thing before you started grad school, what would it be?

Don’t lose sight of your educational goals. I would have loved to do this program earlier in my life if it were possible.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Take the time to do some soul searching and find out if an MBA is what you really want and is the right thing for you. You hit the ground running in the Executive MBA program and if you’re not fully committed, it will frustrate you. However, if you are fully committed, you will grow more in the first month of the program than you have your entire career.

What is your favorite thing about living in Denver?

I love being close to my family and the real mountains—not those hills back east. I try to spend as much time with my family as I can when I am in town. We like to take a trip to the Denver Zoo or go to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. When we are out of the city, we love going on drives through the mountains and maybe even a trip down the alpine slide at Breckenridge.

What were you looking for in a business school?

My wife and I have a shared goal to gain as much education as possible. After receiving our undergraduate degrees, we always knew that it wasn’t meant to be the end of our formal educational instruction. As time went on and our family grew, our professional priorities and aspirations changed; in order to accommodate those changes, we realized that an MBA from a well-respected university was the catalyst for that change that would help me to be a step above the competition in the marketplace.

Why did you choose Daniels for your graduate degree?

Being a Colorado native, I have grown up knowing that University of Denver is arguably the most prestigious university in the state, especially with regard to its business program. Selecting an MBA program to attend was a very simple process for me: I wanted to be close to home and I wanted to be part of a program that was well respected. Daniels was the clear choice for me.

Tell us about the Daniels classroom experience.

It’s a very casual and safe atmosphere where you can be free to share your thoughts and opinions without fear of ridicule or shame. In the Executive MBA, everyone understands that we all have genuine career experiences that contribute to the conversation and you are always treated with respect.

How do you manage work-life balance while taking classes?

My work requires me to be on the road Monday through Thursday. Though I am away from my family, I can dedicate my whole evening to homework or meeting with my study groups through virtual meetings.

How have you evolved as a leader during your time at Daniels?

The Executive Leadership course has opened my eyes to new methods that I can use to hone my leadership skills. Specifically, I have been able to identify blind spots in my leadership style and make adjustments so that I am able to better adapt to the demands of my team at work.