Ariana Shelton — Marketing and Fast Track MBA Alum


Ariana Shelton is a proud Tabor School of Business alum. After 4 years at Millikin University, Ariana graduated with her degree in marketing in 2016. Shortly thereafter, Ariana pursued the fast-track MBA program that Millikin offers where she gained a world of experience working directly with who would become her future employer, Caterpillar, located right here in Decatur, Illinois. 


Ariana gained incredible experience through her time here at Millikin and is now manager of two on campus visitor centers at Caterpillar located in Decatur. She has spent a year and a half in this position. She describes an average day at work being filled with meeting dealers from all over the world to then bring in customers to tour the facility. Ariana often is working with suppliers and educational groups, educational groups that Millikin has been a part of on several occasions. She mentions that because of Caterpillar’s global nature this brings in many groups who are interested in learning about the facility, who Caterpillar is, and what Caterpillar is all about. When she does have customers outside of the business partners that come through the facility, her job is to host them and ensure their day is running smoothly. 

Ariana discusses how she landed at Caterpillar. She talks about the criticality of networking, building relationships and taking advantage of opportunities presented. Part of the fast-track MBA program presented an opportunity to do a process improvement project with Caterpillar. During that time, Ariana presented to a Caterpillar leadership team two separate times and her now boss was a part of those meetings. This was just the start of that relationship. When Ariana went to look for a job post MBA, she had already made a relationship that helped land her that position. 


Tabor gave Ariana the boost of confidence she needed to excel in her career path. 


“My experience with Millikin was huge… The experience, helped me grow the confidence that I needed to grow as a professional as well as tools and things like that. Part of the client projects and performance learning that Millikin offers really helps with that, you know your getting real world experience…” 


After the interview we reached out to Ariana with a couple of follow up questions. 


How does your marketing major help in your current job role.”

My marketing background helps me to look at my job through a sales lens. Even though I am not technically selling a product or service, it’s important to understand each customer in order to create an experience that meets their specific needs. The customer in my scenario is a visitor and they each have their own segment; customers, dealers, suppliers, educational entities and Caterpillar employees. The service I provide them is access to a facility tour. Not only do I use my marketing knowledge to tailor this visitor experience, but I also utilize it when thinking of the consumer purchasing process.  This starts with a convenient and positive experience of requesting and scheduling a visit, then making sure the agenda is created to exceed the expectations for the visitor and finally with a feedback loop through a survey to help improve the process. 

My knowledge in marketing also encouraged me to do projects like coordinate and market a recruitment event for new tour guides and interpreters, develop a training curriculum and create and implement a survey to collect and analyze data about our visitors. 

“How did Tabor help prepare you?”

My International business courses have helped me to be more equipped to host and work professionally with other cultures. I also rely on a variety of communication skills every day. I had an abundance of practice writing and presenting in each class and that has helped me tremendously with my confidence to conduct my self appropriately for every scenario. My performance learning experiences of running real business projects also has given me the desire to step up to lead a process improvement project and manage a team.

Find out more about this major here