Online Graduate Student Spotlight: Delanie West ’23 MBA
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Degree: Online MBA
Concentrations: Marketing and Supply Chain Management
Delanie West ’23 MBA has always been a creative thinker. From her 14 years at Wilton Brands to her own firm, Be Super Creative, she has helped hundreds of women- and girl-focused companies execute creative ideas. However, she says, Whitman’s online MBA program has allowed her to go beyond product development and design to understand the foundational knowledge needed to plan and execute business strategy.
West’s Aha! moment in her career came when she was working to develop the Martha Stewart product line through Wilton Brands. She says, “The lightbulb went on for me. We were selling knowledge and creativity. So over time, I started my firm, Be Super Creative, and was marketing my talent and value of being a creative thinker.”
Searching for a deeper understanding of why she was doing what she was in her career, West was on a mission to pursue a degree to arm herself with the assets necessary to manage her own business. She spent five years researching MBA programs. When the pandemic hit, she knew that was the push she needed to apply. The time she gained from working from home and not traveling globally allowed her to manage classes, work and numerous volunteer opportunities.
So, what stood out to her about Syracuse University’s online MBA program? She says, “The breadth and depth of the total program offerings across the entire University, the convenience factor, school reputation and the fact that Whitman has been offering the program for some time.”
One key aspect of the online program for West is the in-person residencies. Students are able to consult with clients on a project and assist in solutions through the Whitman Challenge. During the three-day residency, students gain hands-on experience by collaborating with a company to understand, analyze and develop an action plan to resolve an issue they are facing.
West worked with Excite All Stars—a nonprofit organization in New Orleans that empowers kids to become leaders who change the world. The recommendations led to significant improvements for the organization, and the unexcepted outcome from the residency project was that her firm has continued consulting with them.
Through the Syracuse University MBA online program, West has always felt a connection—to her peers, faculty and the Syracuse campus. She hopes to attend an in-person residency before graduation to explore the campus and meet people she’s known only virtually.
Beyond her business and classwork, West is active in giving back and supporting women-led businesses, solopreneurs and nonprofits. Another area of passion is diversity, equity and inclusion efforts within organizations.
“It’s our rent for living on Earth. I’ve always believed in giving back to causes that support women and girls, as well as women’s leadership,” she says.
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