From the Airport to Mars: MBA Launches Career: Henry Hendrix ’98 MBA

March 1, 2019

Henry Hendrix

Henry Hendrix ’98 MBA

A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Henry Hendrix ’98 MBA has jet fuel in his veins. Upon finishing his undergraduate degree, he started work for the Tucson Airport Authority (TAA), which he enjoyed, but he knew that “in order to do something different, bigger, better, I needed to get an MBA.”

Hendrix was considering business schools all across the country, but his connections at TAA set him up for a meeting with the Eller MBA program. The interview was scheduled for an hour and ended up being twice as long.


Henry Hendrix
Henry Hendrix ’98 MBA.

After his first year, when Hendrix sat down with a Hewlett-Packard recruiter and was able to hold his own during the conversation—it clicked for him what getting an MBA would actually mean for his career. He landed the internship with HP and spent the summer working with its internal set of engineers during budgeting season, where he was tasked with collecting money from HP sites across the world so the unit could be funded for the year.

“At the end of the summer when I went to present my findings and report that we had gotten all the dollars we needed, they were like, ‘This is the first time we’ve gotten the money completely in the bank before the end of the summer,” Hendrix says. 

That December, with an entire semester left in his MBA, he already had two job offers—including one with HP, where he had made a lasting impression. The second was with Northwest Airlines, a connection he’d made through the National Black MBA Association.

So launching his career: not so difficult. The real challenge Hendrix faced came later, after he married and had children.

“I came to a point when I had to decide how much of me is going to continue the climb and how much of me is going to be with my family,” he says. “I ultimately had to assess where I was allocating my energy and define what success really looks like for me. Mars fits the way I want to live my life.I’m able to enjoy my kids and enjoy my work.” Hendrix has been with the company for four years and is now shopper activation team lead–pet specialty.

In October 2017, Hendrix connected with Mars board member Alan Airth ’84, who requested help recruiting from the University of Arizona. Hendrix structured an internship program and spent three months making the proposal a reality. The internship is slated to begin in 2019. One intern will be selected and upon successful completion of their internship, a full-time job will await in 2020.

The internship and resulting partnership between the Eller College and Mars is an example of the kind of impact Hendrix wants to make. “It gives me a chance to give back to something that has given me a lot for my life,” he says.

From jet fuel to pet food, Hendrix has built the kind of success that works for him and his family through hard work and strong connections: “Instead of just being on the treadmill and pushing through, I developed the skillset to live the life that I want every single day.”

Photos by Ivan Martinez.