Poole College Advisory Board Spotlight: Brian Ricker ’92, MS ’96
With two degrees from NC State and a 31-year career with IBM, Brian Ricker brings with him extensive knowledge of both business and technology – and the relationship between them – to the Poole College of Management Advisory Board.
Ricker first joined the Pack in 1988 as an undergraduate student in the computer science program. While completing his degree, he started his journey with IBM in a co-op position in 1990 – and never left.
“It’s been an exciting 31 years with IBM,” he says. “My career has spanned across multiple roles – including software and cloud support, development and client-facing positions. My current role includes resolving escalations and critical situations, as well as providing VIP support for our global portfolio of IBM Cloud clients.”
Upon completing a bachelor’s degree in computer science in 1992, Ricker quickly followed it up with a master’s degree in management from Poole College in 1996.
“As both a Poole alum and a successful professional in a primarily computer science-based industry, I believe that I have a rather unique perspective relative to some of the other board members I have met along the way,” he says.
Contributing his unique insights to the advisory board, Ricker seeks to establish Poole College as a leading business school by leveraging its position alongside NC State’s other colleges.
Blending business skills together with skills from NC State’s engineering and sciences colleges presents a unique opportunity for our graduates to make a significant impact in both public and private industries.
“There’s an opportunity for a key symbiotic relationship here,” he says. “Blending business skills together with skills from NC State’s engineering and sciences colleges presents a unique opportunity for our graduates to make a significant impact in both public and private industries.”
This, he continues, is what gives Poole an advantage over other business schools.
“Poole has tremendous access via its relationships with the more visible, technically-oriented colleges on campus. We’ll see the most growth, then, if we play to those strengths and compete with other regional technical universities – rather than seeking to be just another business school,” Ricker explains.
For Ricker, Poole College not only has the opportunity to shine amongst other business schools – but also to send out strong leaders into the state’s economy. A key component of this, he believes, is the industry experience the advisory board brings.
“The board brings a unique, industry-based perspective to the college. Because most of our professors have distinguished academic backgrounds, the board fills the gap by providing external industry experience,” he says. “What results is a college that provides market-leading research on key topics of interest – and a stream of quality graduates ready to contribute to companies’ success on day one.”