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Blake Roberts

Blake Roberts, Chick-Fil-AB.A., MBA ’16 - Part-Time MBA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program

Senior Business Consultant, Southeast Region - Chick-Fil-A Corporate

By Nadeen Qubti

Blake Roberts holds two Clemson degrees, having received a Bachelor of Art in Architecture and a Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Roberts was part of the first cohort to attend the part-time MBAe program in 2014. 

Blake worked in Greenville, S.C., for an architectural firm, but decided to reevaluate his career after the economic downturn of 2008. What made Blake’s major career shift possible is that he was always interested in the business side of design. Training within design helps shape the mind into finding creative ways of solving problems and thinking differently, these skills accompanied Blake through different roles.

In 2011, Roberts applied to become a Chick-fil-A franchisee but was offered a role at Chick-fil-A Corporate as a corporate consultant. In this new role, Blake helped open over 100 stores in different markets, and later moved into a senior position in the southeast region. He works in innovation coaching and helps owner-operators in over 26 restaurants reach their goals. “Being able to help owner-operators achieve that next step in life is something I’m very proud of, I enjoy being close to their business and advocating for them,” Blake said. 

Roberts’ personal and work philosophy revolve around influencing the world in a positive way. “Samuel Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, talks about reputation and how it’s hard to build but easily lost,” Roberts said. “I want to be associated with people and companies that have a similar purpose to mine,” he added. 

What is your favorite quote?

“If you have enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” - Zig Ziglar

What is the best advice you have received?

To learn from those who came before and have done the work. Humbly look at what they’ve created over time and evaluate what you need to take away from it. Make sure you have answers in two categories: things to take and things to not do again.

Why did you choose to attend the Clemson MBA Program?

I knew I didn't want to leave my job to pursue the degree. Finding a part-time program that had an emphasis that could set me apart from other candidates was crucial to me. 

How did your Clemson MBA experience shape your career path?

The MBA gave me a leg up as I pursued innovation at Chick-fil-A. I’ve been able to keep my current job and be involved with innovation aspects at Chick-fil-A.

What was your favorite class in the program? Why?

Entrepreneurial strategy was one of my favorite classes. It helped the students apply everything they learned from class in the real world. I enjoyed learning about business model canvas and using it to look at business from the ground up.

Can you describe how you maintained a work-life balance?

Chick-fil-A has the intentions of balancing life and work of all employees. If things are great at home then you’ll perform well in the business.

When I was in the program, the class schedule was very supportive for me to maintain a professional and personal life. I had weekend classes and online classes that helped me balance multiple aspects of my life.

What is your favorite Clemson MBA memory?

I underestimated how valuable the cohort was. I loved the fact that I got to build networks. I learned a lot from my cohort who are from different backgrounds, fields, and areas of expertise.

Looking back at your experience in the program, what piece of advice would you give to our current/future students?

Learning from your peers is just as important as learning from the professors and lecturers in your class. Spend time with those in the program and learn from those with different experiences and expertise from you.