Kellogg World Alumni Magazine Winter 2005Kellogg School of Management
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  Martha Boudos '02 (TMP)
  Martha Boudos '02 (TMP)

Alumni Profile: Martha Boudos '02 (TMP)

Rising star
From marketing manager to CFO, Kellogg TMP alum proves her leadership skills

By Shannon Sweetnam

When Morningstar needed a new chief financial officer, Martha Boudos '02 went looking for one. As vice president of human resources, her job was to identify a qualified financial expert who could lead the growing Chicago-based investment research firm.

Not satisfied with the candidates they had interviewed, CEO Joe Mansueto considered filling the position with an internal staff member, and so Boudos went from interviewer to interviewee. Hired as CFO, Boudos would have direct responsibility for finance, accounting, legal and human resources, and she would play a pivotal role in getting the company ready for an initial public offering.

Boudos, who spent eight years as marketing manager and a year as human resources Vice President, credits her company's culture for opening the door to career advancement.  "Joe is open-minded about what qualifies someone to do a job. Lots of people here started in one area and have gone on to do something very different."

Boudos, a graduate of The Managers' Program (TMP), the Kellogg School's part-time curriculum, is quick to point out the link between various business functions. With 65 people reporting to her, Boudos felt her marketing role required as much management expertise as it did marketing strategy. This prepared her well for her human resources stint. "Management experience is very important in human resources," she says. "When I became head of that area, we had very valuable technical expertise in the department, but who better for managing HR than someone who's lived the other side of it? Similarly, my job as CFO is not actually to do the accounting; it's to know what it takes to make money, to understand the business from a numbers point of view to help grow the value of the business."

As CFO, Boudos successfully prepared the company for its IPO, which in May raised $140 million for Morningstar. And her marketing background proved enormously helpful as the firm worked to present its story to the public.

"An IPO is partly a marketing exercise. An important challenge we faced was helping people understand all we do and how we make money," says Boudos. "Often, someone knows only one part of Morningstar. They aren't aware of the three segments that we serve [individuals, financial advisers and institutions] and what our capabilities are around the world."

Boudos attributes much of her success to keeping an open mind and looking at business from a multidisciplinary point of view. "You never know where life will take you," says the Kellogg grad, who spent three years as an asset management analyst for The Boston Company before joining Morningstar.

Her first eight years with Morningstar found her taking on various marketing product development roles, serving as a key contributor to the creation of, the company's first Web site. In 1997, while marketing manager of this online business, she enrolled in the Kellogg School's part-time program. "I thought it was time to broaden my horizons and continue learning," Boudos explains.

 "All of the Kellogg programs have unique advantages," she says. "TMP's advantage was all the interplay between work and school. What we learned in the classroom was immediately relevant at the office the next day."

One example Boudos recalls involves the discussion of silicon chip manufacturing and related technical challenges. The class was able to deepen its understanding of the matter because a classmate's employer was facing very similar hurdles.

Boudos says she uses her Kellogg School knowledge each day. "The program definitely made an impact on my career." In fact, when she graduated from Kellogg four-and-a-half years after enrolling, she had been promoted to CFO of Morningstar.

Today, she intends to keep helping Morningstar make the transition from a private to a public company, and play an ongoing role in ensuring the firm achieves its mission of helping investors around the world.

 "There have always been a variety of interesting challenges to tackle at Morningstar," she says. "I see no signs of that coming to an end any time soon."

©2002 Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University