UK MBA alum Ryan Williams goes from the Kentucky farm to California entrepreneur

Posted: May 13, 2019

Ryan Williams

Ryan Williams, alum of the One Year MBA program at the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics, is devoting his entrepreneurial efforts in many ways these days. Ryan is currently the Brand Solution Specialist for SDA Media, COO of the Lorem Ipsum Company, Marketing Manager at Custom Business Solutions (Northstar family of products) and contributor at The Restaurant Technology Guys. Originally from Kentucky, Ryan figured out along the way his passion for making it on his own and pursuing his own ideas.

"Growing up on a farm in rural Kentucky, I quick knew that farming was not for me long term," says Ryan. "However, I did learn a lot about hard work and making it on your own. After I graduated from the UK MBA program in 2013, I moved to California to make my own ideas a reality."

A few years after graduating from Butler University in 2010 with his Bachelor's degree in Marketing, Ryan decided to pursue his MBA at the University of Kentucky. 

"At that time, the economy was not the best and my first few jobs out of college were not ideal," says Ryan. "I always wanted to be an entrepreneur but needed to have the skills and confidence to pitch my ideas. An MBA creates instant credibility and I believe helped me to pursue my dream of entrepreneurship.”

The One Year MBA program at Gatton is positioned for both business and non-business majors. Students will also obtain valuable soft skills in areas of critical thinking, negotiations, presentations, communications and problem-solving along with a unique, built-in internship experience called Project Connect. Participating in Project Connect happens simultaneously with a student's coursework, providing them with a unique internship opportunity to apply what they are learning with real-time projects. 

Ryan says, "Project Connect gave me insight and the opportunity to work with a wide range of students to achieve a common goal. I enjoyed learning with many other young professionals that were very different than me. I loved the hands-on impact that we had of working on real projects of importance."

After graduating with his UK MBA degree, Ryan took his talents to California and is helping run many different ventures: 

  • Contributor at The Restaurant Technology Guys, which is the industry's premier thought leadership channel, blog and podcast;
  • Marketing Manager at Custom Business Solutions, which is a leader in hospitality POS technology to help restaurants maximize efficiency and profitability;
  • COO at Lorem Ipsum Company, which is a full-service digital marketing agency specializing in content marketing, social media marketing and search engine optimization;
  • And Brand Solution Specialist at SDA Media which is a leading content and technology company focused on revolutionizing traditional marketing.

Regarding advice for candidates considering an MBA and a career as an entrepreneur, Ryan Says, "First, an MBA is worth it. I believe it separates yourself and makes yourself more marketable. For future entrepreneurs, get a foundation first and apply yourself. Be okay with failing but continue to learn along the way. Be open to saying yes and know when to walk away. Don’t bring problems, bring solutions. The solutions can lead to great ideas that you can run with. Do it, start it!"

Starting this Fall of 2019, the University of Kentucky MBA program will launch their first concentration in Entrepreneurship and New Venture Creation. For more information, contact Christopher T. Carney, Director of MBA Recruitment at the University of Kentucky's Gatton College of Business and Economics.