Disrupt Yourself

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Student Insight: Real-time applications of theory

"Disrupt yourself. If you don't, someone else will."

This advice is from Scott Price, the Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at UPS. Interestingly enough, Price gave this advice to a few hundred UNC Charlotte undergraduate and graduate students at the CEO Speaker Series on April 3.

Dean Ott welcomes Scott Price

As an attendee, I was struck by the irony of this statement to the particular audience. We are college students, many of us graduate students! My peers and I are disrupting our whole lives by continuing our education. Why would Price advise those who already disrupted to disrupt ourselves further? 


"disrupt yourself.  if you don't, someone else will."

- scott price

The answer became clear throughout the presentation. As an undergraduate student in the Belk College of Business, Price’s International Business professor Dr. Emmett Harris gave him advice that changed his life: “Get an MBA and learn a language.” Price took the advice, learned Japanese and moved to Japan to work for Coca-Cola. He stepped further out of his comfort zone in his mid-career by relocating throughout Asia and Europe a total of 15 times in just under two decades. And when Price joined UPS in December 2017, he was the first executive hired outside of the company in its entire 112 year history.


"Get an mba and learn a language."

- advice by a belk College business professor that changed the life of scott price
Scott Price’s challenge to the audience came from a lifetime of disrupting himself

What does disrupting oneself look like? Price offered many examples from his life and career. The key strategy I gained is the importance of remaining a lifelong learner. As Dr. Harris advised Price many years ago, the first place to start is with a graduate level education. Scott recommended that the undergraduate students consider the ROI on a graduate degree: “Whether or not to go after your MBA is an economic decision. It's about gaining an understanding at a higher level." He also advised that students consider pursuing their degree while working so as not to miss out on any learning opportunities. As a graduate student in the M.S. of Mathematical Finance program also working full-time, I completely agree with these statements, and am thankful that the Belk College of Business gives me the opportunity to be disrupted.



The CEO Speaker Series brings business leaders to the UNC Charlotte campus to interact undergraduate and graduate students, while also providing an open forum for the business community.

The lifelong learning strategy should not stop with graduate school. In today’s world, any entity (whether societies, companies, or individuals) must keep up with globalization and changing technology, or risk falling behind to those who do. Scott discussed the importance of companies understanding modern megatrends (such as blockchain) and how companies must have digital agility to remain relevant. For UPS specifically, modern start-ups are competing in the delivery space with less overhead and more speed than the century-old company. In response, Price helped build a team dedicated to learning new technology and developing the technology within UPS.  


the lifelong learning strategy should not stop with graduate school.

Scott Price helped me understand the value of being a disruptor, not just in this graduate school phase of my life, but in everything I do. In order to see real transformation in our lives, careers and societies, it is important to challenge ourselves, to not be afraid to take risks and to remain lifelong learners. 



Danielle Avery is pursuing a Master of Science in Mathematical Finance degree. She serves as a Student Ambassador for her graduate program. Learn more about Danielle Avery in her Faces of Belk College profile.