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Al Bennah

Degree earned: Professional Evening MBA
Graduation: 2017
Current title/organization: Manager, Customer Solutions Delivery/TiVo Corp.
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Why did you choose the NC State Jenkins MBA program for your graduate education?

The Jenkins MBA Program was an obvious choice for me. Coming from a Software Engineering undergraduate background and having worked as a technologist for a number of years, I wanted my MBA curriculum to be one that would equip me with the knowledge and tools to manage technology and innovation. NC State is renowned for its Engineering DNA and that carries over into all aspects of the University. The convenience of the Professional Evening Program and relative cost-to-value ratio of the Jenkins MBA Program were also important factors in my decision.

How did your experience in the program contribute to your professional achievements and successes?

I rate my overall experience in the Jenkins MBA Program in two dimensions – first, in terms of academics and knowledge gained, and second, in terms of the connections that I made during my time there. Both aspects have enabled me to stretch myself in ways that I didn’t before; in embracing new perspectives and possibilities. I am definitely better off for having gone through this program – both professionally and personally.

What did you enjoy most about your time in the Jenkins MBA program?

I was among the very fortunate few Jenkins MBA students selected to be a part of the inaugural class of McLauchlan Leadership Fellows in 2015. My time as a McLauchlan Fellow, part of which involved being paired with a seasoned industry executive as a personal coach, was so enriching that it changed my entire perspective on personal, team and organizational leadership. It also taught me a life-long lesson about giving back to help others, and I’ll always be grateful to Russ and Cara McLauchlan for their generosity and support.

What do you miss most now that you have graduated?

The camaraderie with my Jenkins cohort. The edginess of trying to balance family, career and school. The feeling that even though the path was hard, it was well worth the effort. The long nights that all eventually paved a shining path to walk across that stage and snag a diploma from the hands of Dr. Allen ­čÖé

What are a few of the most impactful classes/lessons you learned during your time at NC State?

The Art of Negotiations with Dr. David Henard was probably the single most impactful course. Courses in Marketing Management, Innovation Management and Business Ideas Generation & Modeling also rank high on my personal impact list.

What are your lasting impressions of the Jenkins MBA program?

The Jenkins Program felt like home. Everyone from the Admissions Office, the faculty, administrators, academic and career counsellors, all worked together to ensure that students had the support they needed and got the value they paid for.

What advice would you give for prospective and current students who are interested in your industry/profession?

The Technology industry in general and Software in particular is vast and there’s opportunity for every career discipline. Do not be deterred if you don’t have a Software Engineering or another technical background. Come ready to learn new ways of delivering value to customers and most importantly, learn to become comfortable in adjusting to an ever-evolving industry landscape.

What advice do you have for prospective Jenkins MBA students?

Be open to new experiences. Be ready to challenge yourself and your thinking. Seek help when you need it. And, oh yeah – take a Study Abroad course if you can!

Could you give a brief explanation of your current line of work, and what has led you to it?

Currently, I manage an agile team of software solutions architects who work across the technical stack in our company to customize and deliver solutions for our enterprise customers in the Television and Entertainment industry. My love of technology and passion for helping real people solve problems that matter to them have led me to this point in my career.

What do you believe is your most interesting accomplishment since graduation?

Career-wise, my personal involvement and leadership in helping an important client launch a new digital video streaming service. On a personal level, starting a small business focused on real estate investment and property management. They were both proud moments.

What are your goals and plans for the future?

First, to enjoy every moment that I can with my family. To laugh more. To travel and explore more. To continually seek ways to grow both personally and in my career and my business.