Aspire Give Now

Connect with JSOM Alumni

Naveen Jindal School of Management Alumni Spotlight

From real estate to healthcare management, to information technology and finance, we are proud to shine a spotlight on some of our alumni whose career paths are representative of the many employment options to which a degree from the Naveen Jindal School of Management can lead. With more than 29,000 alumni, the Jindal School is impacting the culture of business in the U.S. and beyond.

The following JSOM graduates agreed to have their information posted. If you are an alumnus and willing to share your information, please contact Caroline Mandel, Assistant Director, Development Communications and Donor Relations

The Perdue Family, Connie, Caitlin and Brad Perdue

Connie Perdue MS’81
Senior Tax Manager, Hagy & Associates, P.C.   

Caitlin Perdue BS’10
Membership Marketing Manager, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

Brad Perdue MS’82
Strategic Account Manager, Carbon Design Systems 

For the Perdue family, attending the Jindal School is a family tradition that stands out among many others. Parents Brad and Connie met while graduate students in the 1980s, and many years later, daughter Caitlin received her undergraduate degree as well. Although almost 30 years separates their time as students, all three agree that their Jindal School experiences helped advance their careers. Brad has worked in the technology services industry for more than 25 years, and Connie serves on the senior management team of a tax accounting firm in Austin, Texas. Caitlin, who works for the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners in Austin, is also pursuing a graduate degree in social work. The Perdue family recently decided to expand their family tradition by providing a one-time scholarship award to help support a Jindal School student in the 2014-2015 academic year. The family hopes many others will benefit from the same lessons they learned during their time at JSOM.
Caitlin Perdue (top), Brad Perdue and Connie Perdue
Tell us a few highlights of your professional career.
Brad: As a sales and marketing professional in the technology industry, my passion is helping companies emerge as a leader in their respective markets. Punching the clock at a big company never caught my interest. Thus far, my proudest achievement during my career has been helping several startup software companies land some of their first customers. I played an integral role in establishing the company’s foundation, and for two of those companies; I was recognized as the world-leading producer of the year.

Two of my proudest achievements are obtaining my master’s degree and CPA license. Both required a lot of time and work, but it paid off.

The ability to advance, grow and learn in my professional career has been a valuable experience. I’ve had the opportunity to gain valuable marketing experience, which I feel will be applicable to any future job. Currently, my proudest achievement has been pursuing a graduate degree in social work from Texas State University.
What brought you to UT Dallas?
Brad: I was working in Dallas and wanted to get a graduate degree in business to enhance my career opportunities. I previously earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from UT Austin and soon realized that I did not want to be a computer programmer for the rest of my life. UT Dallas was a logical choice because it provided the right degree program. The funny thing was that in the early 1970s, my brother and I would ramble down Campbell Road in his ’69 Mustang on the way to the newly opened J.J. Pierce High School. I remember seeing the small cluster of UT Dallas buildings surrounded by weeds in the distance. I had no clue I would get my master’s degree out there in those weeds!  

After I completed my undergraduate degree, I worked for Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), now BP Amoco. ARCO offered reimbursement for educational expenses, and I thought it would be beneficial to my career to complete a graduate degree. However I didn’t start my graduate career at UT Dallas. I actually took my first graduate course at SMU because the campus was closer to my home. After I learned about UT Dallas, I soon decided it was a better fit for me.

I wanted to find a great academic university where I could play competitive soccer. UT Dallas met both of these needs, and I liked that the location allowed me to remain close to family.
What is your favorite UT Dallas memory?
Brad: One of my marketing professors tasked me and another student with creating a business proposal for an Internet-based rating service for the professional service industry. At the time, only a few such services existed. A current example is Angie’s List. This experience was memorable because I found the research challenging, and I spent a lot of time on that proposal. I thought I did a mediocre job, but the professor loved our proposal.  

Unfortunately, my memories from my time as a student have faded, but when Cailtin began her undergraduate career at UT Dallas, I was amazed at how much the campus had grown.

My favorite UT Dallas memories are from my time with the women’s soccer team. I spent a lot of time with my teammates at practices and traveling to games. There’s no greater feeling than playing your heart out to win a game and then celebrating with your best friends afterward.
Who was your favorite professor, and/or what was your favorite class and why?
Brad: I really enjoyed the core marketing courses. I remember an advertising class taught by a very energetic professor who made a big deal about eye saccades. This concept refers to reaction that occurs when a catchy object, person or message is placed next to the focal point in an advertisement. It draws your attention, and the image association facilitates the memory of the message that the advertiser intends for you to take home. This was just so interesting to me.  

I remember an assignment in which I had to write a paper on interviewing prospective employees. My paper was about realistic job previews, and I still use those skills today.  

I enjoyed the classes I took for my minor in sociology. It sparked my passion for social justice and led me on the path to becoming a social worker.
What is the best advice you have received?
Brad: In business, it does not matter what you do. What matters is that you are passionate about what you do and strive to be the best you can be.  

I read once that you need to refresh your education every five years. I think that is excellent advice to keep growing intellectually.

The best advice I’ve received highlighted the importance of making meaningful connections with people. Creating lasting relationships, personally and professionally, has impacted my life in such a positive way.
What advice do you have for current students hoping to succeed in the business world?
Brad: Don’t believe what others define you as in regard to your current standing in life or business. You are solely in control of what you are and what you are capable of achieving. Everyone has an opinion; some should be considered, but only your opinion counts in the end. Believe in yourself and don’t sell yourself short.  

I think students need to realize that they need to start at an appropriate level to build success for the future. I had a young student once tell me that he expected to do more than prepare spreadsheets in the beginning. However, you must walk before you run.

My philosophy has always been to be as helpful and friendly as possible to my co-workers and colleagues. Be willing to take on projects and assist others even if it doesn’t fall under your job description. This type of behavior creates a better work environment, and your co-workers will be more willing to repay the favor when you need help. Not to mention your supervisors will notice and reward you for your hard work.
What makes an effective leader?
Brad: An effective leader is a good listener and is someone who motivates people because they care and want to highlight and defend your strengths and contributions. Someone who provides advice that comes from a unique experience in addition to your own experience.  

Someone who listens.

An effective leader is passionate about their work, receptive to constructive criticism from peers and employees, is a good listener and accepts different ideas and perspectives.