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Manufacturing a new career

Rose Kelly-Falls earned a bachelor's degree from Butler University, and had every intention of pursuing a career in apparel manufacturing. After college, she worked in the textile industry for some well-known design houses, including Perry Ellis and Anne Klein, and was an apparel purchasing and operations manager in New York City.

But Kelly-Falls wanted more. "I felt like I was somewhat limited in New York," she says. "If you were not in the apparel or textile industry, you worked on Wall Street. And at that point, I wanted to get out of that industry and focus on complex manufacturing. I knew that if I wanted to really succeed, I would need a higher education."

Kelly-Falls enrolled at the Master of Science in Management (MSM) program at Purdue--now known as the Master of Business Administration (MBA)--and graduated in 1998. She started her new career in commodity management for the Ford Motor Co. and was head of commodity purchasing and head of financial risk, supply management, at Rolls-Royce North America.

In 2010, Kelly-Falls co-founded the Fuzion Group LLC, a supply management consultancy firm. Soon after the company's inception, an article was published by Gartner on the work that she developed and implemented on supply chain risk management, and was picked up by business information giant Dun & Bradstreet. Kelly-Falls recently joined Rapid Ratings, an analytics and ratings firm in New York City, as a senior vice president of supply chain risk management. She maintains an office at the Purdue Research Park at AmeriPlex-Indianapolis.

Kelly-Falls credits her Purdue education for much of her success. "Krannert provided the framework for me to look beyond my own concentration of operations. It provided me the foundation to look at all other fundamentals of business, such as marketing, finance, and HR," she says. "When I went back into industry, I was a much more strategic thinker and more visionary in my approach to business."