My MBA Experience
I started my MBA program with emphasis in marketing in 2015 with a generous full-ride fellowship from the organization I work for — Esri. I attended the University of Redlands, which has a gorgeous campus and has been around since 1907. I graduated August 2017, and I feel bittersweet about my graduate program experience.
On one hand, it has been an incredible learning experience, and I feel that I have broaden my work exponentially. I pushed myself in every course, challenging every project and making it the best it can be. I went above and beyond minimum requirements. In the end, it’s not the piece of paper that matters; it’s what you can do with it that does. Thus far, one of my favorite projects has been: Lyft, leveraging Uber’s public twitter data to build marketing strategies, from my marketing analytics class. It focuses on leveraging twitter and R with sentiment analysis for marketing strategies. While attending the program, I have met some great, fun people who are dedicated like myself. The greatest benefit has been the business knowledge I was lacking as a designer. I feel so much more conformable with numbers and actually prefer them now. One of my favorite classes was statistics. Statistics? I know right, who would like statistics? Stats proved to me how critical it is, especially when applied to data. It is invaluable when it comes to making a decision. Even better, decisions with a set of probability distributions of success, now that is powerful. I will probably go into detailed aspects of the program later… Long story short, going to grad school was one of the best decision I could have made. Therefore, thank you Esri.
On the other hand, I noticed how little effort some students put into the projects, but still graduate and obtain good grades throughout the program. To me, it waters down the degree and makes it less valuable. Makes me feel that anybody can obtain this. All you have to do is do the bare minimum or turn something in and you have a decent grade. Moreover, there was a student in my cohort who rarely attended any classes — I’d see this person at the first class and the last for final presentations, so attendance is not so important to the school either. The professors do not push or challenge the students either. On some classes, it was open-ended and it was up to the students to perform. Bad idea. Most of the students in my cohort always asked for the minimum and deliver that. You can have a really good project and get a 4.0. You can also have mediocre projects or very had projects and will still be a 3.5 or higher.
In conclusion, I have had an amazing experience at the University of Redlands pursuing my Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. I have challenged myself and created a good network. Going back to school for an MBA has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. However, I wish the school, program, professors, projects, etc. were more challenging.
What’s next for me? As far as education I will continue to learn and consider a DBA. Some of the concepts I leaned towards the end of the program include data analytics and data science. I was really impressed with the capabilities of R. Therefore, I will focus on that for a bit after school since there is much to be learned. It will be good to focus on algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning. Most importantly, I need to ensure that I apply all the skills learned in the MBA program to my work and personal life on a daily basis and continue to learn as life is a never-ending learning process.
In December 2017, I was promoted from Senior UI Designer to Design Program Manager. Going from the lead UI designer for one of our key products, Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS to focusing on global design at Esri and building our internal design system. My new role’s objectives includes building a design system and visual language for our 60+ products and digital marketing efforts. Moreover, ensure harmony and consistency within our platform of product and services. It’s a new position for the company, which will bring it’s set of challenges, but also opportunities.
Originally published at Julio Ochoa — The Business of Design.