Graduation: MBA 2007
Organization/Current title: Gartner, Senior Director, Analyst
Q: Why did you choose the NC State Jenkins MBA program for your graduate education?
A: The NC State’s MBA program is always ranked really well and I had heard from hiring managers and recruiters that they’re usually very pleased with the performance of NC State MBA alumni.
Q: How did your experience in the program contribute to your professional achievements and successes?
A: Several of the MBA projects were actually great experiences of working with a cross-functional teams to solve big problems for well known organizations. That experience is difficult to find, and in many cases isn’t replicated with internships or lower level roles.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your time in the Jenkins MBA Program?
A: Working with an amazing group of people and getting to know several folks very well over two years.
Q: What do you miss most now that you have graduated?
A: The people. Some of us stay in touch on LinkedIn or Facebook, but it has been fun watching everyone continue to grow in their careers.
Q: What are a few of the most impactful classes/lessons you learned during your time at NC State?
A: 1. Working with lots of people doesn’t make it easier. The academic perception that having a team on a project may make something easier to accomplish usually isn’t true. Most organizations that I work with today still list alignment and integrated campaigns as two of their top challenges. Building consensus and getting great work done on a tight timeline requires a lot of nuance and strong interpersonal skills.
2. Most don’t have a long-term career plan. Going into the MBA Program, I was convinced that Supply Chain was my future and I learned a ton about it and had great real-world experiences. I ended up back in marketing – which was my first professional passion. I’ve worked for some amazing companies since and advise high growth organizations now, but the notion of someone having the next ten years of their career planned is farfetched. The MBA Program helps strengthen business skills across several functions – not just your concentration – which is essential in the corporate world
Q: What are your lasting impressions of the Jenkins MBA program?
A: It was a great experience and helped me improve my skills and quickly grow my network.
Q: What advice would you give for prospective and current students who are interested in your industry/profession?
A: In marketing, a jack of all trades is better than a master of one. Grow skills in as many areas as possible because the industry changes quickly and your role will evolve with it. The most successful marketing leaders are experts in their field, but more importantly, amazing communicators with off-the-chart amounts of empathy. Marketing leaders are a tight knit group too, so never burn a bridge. The odds of your next boss knowing your current boss are very high.
Q: Could you give a brief explanation of your current line of work, and what has led you to it?
A: I’m a Senior Analyst in the Marketing practice at TOPO, a research and advisory firm that was acquired by Gartner in October 2019. We help the world’s fastest growing companies achieve scalable revenue growth and work with incredible sales and marketing leaders. Prior to TOPO, I’ve led marketing to increase revenue at companies like Oracle, GE, Red Hat, Bandwidth.com, and Cheetah Digital. At age 5, I started renting NES games to the neighborhood, but neglected to establish a return policy which resulted in many games disappearing for the low, low price of $1 each. Business and marketing has been in my DNA for a long time. Fortunately, I’ve gotten a little better since my first failed business attempt.
Q: What do you believe is your most interesting accomplishment since graduation?
A: I’ve been successfully acquired twice, sued over a blog post once, deposed for over eight hours after a startup implosion, spoken at over 200 events, and balance work with three amazing kids under the age of 10 and two puppies. I’m the first search result for ‘sued over a blog post’ out of over 32 million results.
Q: What are your goals and plans for the future?
A: Continue to help the world’s best companies get even better at generating revenue with marketing and keep a healthy work / life balance.