After five years of job-hopping in the food industry, Taylor Pond is using an IE Business School MBA to step back and bring business acumen to the sector
Like most people working in the food and restaurant industry, Taylor Pond has moved around a lot, rarely spending more than a year in any job.
Taylor has worked as a line cook at Miami University, a recipe developer in New York City, and as manager of a 15 strong kitchen team in LA.
Now, having enrolled in the International MBA at IE Business School (IMBA), she has been able to slow down and figure out a more permanent career path, with the help of their highly customizable MBA program.
From the kitchen to business school
The driving force behind Taylor’s career has been a passion for food, which began at a young age when she would wake up early before school to bake scones for her family.
But since graduating from a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics at Miami University in 2014, food has been the only consistency in Taylor’s life, as she has held eight different jobs.
“The restaurant industry is known for that, if you spend more than six months anywhere people are like ‘oh my god you must really love it,’” she says.
Having experienced a number of different areas within the industry, Taylor was struck by the poor business practices going on everyday, regularly witnessing staff wages and benefits not being paid.
“I thought this isn’t right and there are better ways of doing things,” she says.
She found that better approach to business at Sakara Life, a 100% plant-based meal kit provider that she joined in 2018.
Part of the rapidly growing vegan food industry—39% of Americans say they are adding more vegan meals to their diet—Sakara Life offered more modern practices and gave Taylor a role managing 15 employees.
Having that taste of management drove Taylor to consider applying to business school.
“I wanted to really understand the business side of the industry and I wanted some more formal instruction,” she says.
She settled on IE Business School in Spain, whose highly customizable IMBA program would allow her to tailor a course specifically suited to her.
The remaining four months after the lab period gives students the choice of nine electives, covering a wide range of areas from operations to finance.
“I loved how customizable it was,” Taylor says, “that really helped you focus on honing your strengths, IE taught me that your strengths are what will propel you to your next step.”
This approach means Taylor has a better idea of where she wants to take her career as she approaches graduation.