The Richmond MBA degree led Michael Liedtke, ’05, to transition into the consulting field and to start his own business, SME Consulting, LLC.  The Michigan-based firm, which focuses on social media and technology-based start-ups, helps “fill the gaps as necessary to go from ideation to launch,” he said.

“This includes writing business plans, making investor presentations, increasing revenues, and developing cost strategies,” Liedtke explained.

After earning a bachelor’s in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1998, Liedtke decided to pursue an MBA degree to help him transition to a new professional field. 

“My decision to obtain an MBA was initially to pivot from an information technology career to a finance career,” he said.

Liedtke had a list of requirements he wanted in a potential MBA program. He was looking for a strong program in the Richmond area that did not require him to give up his full-time job.

“My choice to obtain a Richmond MBA degree was directed by an employment opportunity at Capital One,” said Liedtke.  “Based on its reputation and rankings, I felt The Richmond MBA was an excellent choice. The school’s educational setting is incredible.”

Looking back over the time since graduation, Liedtke seems pleased with his decision to pursue his degree at Richmond.  “My Richmond MBA gave me the ability to view business from a more dynamic perspective.  It also allowed me to make connections that I could not have achieved before my MBA.”

Liedtke maintains a hectic schedule in his role as founder and managing director at SME Consulting.  A typical day for him involves meeting with key executives to discuss new opportunities, marketing his firm’s services and engaging in business development.

One of Liedtke’s short-term goals is to hire an analyst to further grow his business and expand his clientele.  In addition to his many responsibilities at SME Consulting, Liedtke has also taken on the role of director at RSVP Capital, a firm who specializes in entrepreneurial management and venture capital investing.

Liedtke finds his role at RSVP and his role at SME rewarding for similar reasons.

“The two most rewarding parts to my job are the ability to explore businesses to see where the value lies while networking with a number of people at different levels of business,” he said. “This goes along with RSVP’s philosophy of being engaged in the process of business building, not just supplying capital.”

His ability to deeply understand various businesses is the reason why he believes The Richmond MBA degree has been vital to his career.  “The greatest thing I tell people who are considering going back to get their MBA is that [an MBA degree] gives you the ability to connect tons of ideas you were never able to connect before,” he said.