After Kennedy Horton graduated in May 2011 from the University of Mississippi, he didn’t look for a job. That’s because the M.B.A. student had already secured a prominent position with FedEx Express.
Horton, who previously earned bachelor’s degrees from UM in international studies and Mandarin Chinese, worked in finance. Since entering the M.B.A. program, he has immersed himself in learning how the individual areas of finance, accounting and technology management are integrated to support business strategy. He also got to know his new employer through its Ole Miss connections.
“I was paired up with an executive at FedEx Express through the M.B.A. mentor program,” Horton said. “He was very generous to give me his time and helped me learn a great deal about the company and business in Asia. There are also many great friends of the university at FedEx who visit campus and were key in helping me develop a better understanding of that firm and contributed to my desire to work for it.”
A Mississippi native and the son of disaster relief workers, Horton grew up in Pakistan and Thailand. He decided to attend UM to take advantage of programs in the Croft Institute for International Studies, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and the Chinese Language Flagship Program.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time in each,” he said. “Croft taught me how to think critically and pull meaning out of quantitative and qualitative information. The (national flagship language program) allowed me to learn Chinese and about China through high-quality, intensive courses on campus, as well as through multiple semesters studying in China.”
The university’s M.B.A. program taught Horton to use all his skills in a business environment. “It introduced me to the systematic development of business strategy and management,” he said.
Faculty members in Horton’s majors boast of his achievements.
“Kennedy Horton’s background of living for long periods in Pakistan and Thailand as a child provided him with perspectives on life that are exceptional for a U.S. student,” said Michael Metcalf, associate provost for international affairs and co-director of CLFP. “His participation in the Chinese Language Flagship Program here at the university wedded to his MBA studies are sure to have prepared him to make important contributions to his employers.”
“His passion in study made him most different from the others,” said Yi Lin, assistant professor of Chinese and CLFP director of curriculum and instruction. “It seems like yesterday that he said to me, ‘I am addicted to Chinese and can’t help it.’ I am always amused by that line, even though it was three years ago.”
Horton also has helped strengthen the MBA program for fellow students, said Bethany Cooper, director of corporate relations and MBA services.
“His global experiences and language skills have added an interesting perspective to the class,” Cooper said. “What is truly delightful about Kennedy is that he is here at Ole Miss to learn, he asked challenging questions and took his studies seriously. I look forward to watching his career trajectory and expect great things from him in the years to come.”
Horton credits his wife, Caitlin, along with his father, grandfather, mentors Walt Demoss and Michael Ducker and UM’s Career Center for the support that contributed to his success.