As a principal sales manager at HubSpot, a co-owner and coach of CrossFit and a new dad, Chris Douglass ’23 MBA has plenty on his plate, but he decided he could add something more with an online MBA from Syracuse University’s Whitman School.
“For the last several years, I’ve wanted to go back to get my MBA,” says Douglass, who lives in Connecticut. “I realized that I could not rely only on my companies to teach me the skills I would need to advance my career. So, I started to give a lot of thought to the idea. But, at the time, there were only in-person local programs near where I was living.”
A casual conversation with a co-worker, who happened to be finishing his online MBA at the Whitman School, actually made Douglass aware of the possibilities available through Syracuse University.
“I immediately started researching Whitman and saw how extensive the program was for someone looking into an advanced degree,” he explains. “Not to mention it was always a dream of mine to graduate with a degree from Syracuse University. That possibility only gave me more motivation to pursue the opportunity.”
Soon, Douglass was accepted into the program and successfully integrated the requirements of an online MBA into his already busy schedule.
“The flexibility of the evening and weekend classes gave me the opportunity to complete the degree at my own pace,” he says. “And, having some asynchronous classes let me work at my leisure, whether it was before work or in the evenings after the baby went to sleep.”
Douglass is especially pleased that Whitman’s online program offers top-notch technology that allowed him to seamlessly attend classes and interact with his professors and classmates. “Although everyone is all around the world in class, you feel like you are in a physical classroom, making new contacts and having a shared experience,” he says. “I appreciated that so much.”
The experience has already shown him results that he can apply to both of his careers, as an employee and a business owner.
“I was recently talking with a CMO about his short and long-term marketing strategy. As a result of some of the classes I have taken at Whitman, I now felt confident that I understood what he was looking to accomplish,” Douglass explains. “We were talking his ‘marketing language,’ and I didn’t feel intimidated. Instead, I was a resource and adding value based on my classroom experiences.”
Douglass noted another example where the accounting and finance classes he took helped him better manage his own business’s profit and loss (P&L) statement. “I have a better understanding of how to manage and make decisions for the business because what we did in the curriculum are things I can apply now and have an immediate impact on my personal and professional life,” he says. “I had so many ‘ah-ha’ moments in class where a concept or technique connected with my professional life.”
Soon to be a proud Syracuse University graduate when he receives his degree in December, Douglass is confident he has developed a much greater skill set to tackle almost anything in the business world. For now, he will continue to use those skills in both of his current jobs, but time will tell. His only immediate plan is to “appreciate the journey and reflect on the growth I’ve experienced over the last two years.”
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