How an online MBA benefited our careers |

How an online MBA benefited our careers

By Stephanie L

Updated April 21, 2021 Updated April 21, 2021

Sponsored by Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University

The online MBA is considered an efficient and affordable route to help climb the executive career ladder or switch career paths altogether. This has certainly been the case for Stephanie Gutnik, Mark Magro and Roberto D’Amico, who all studied the online MBA with Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University.

TopMBA caught up with Stephanie, Mark and Roberto, to find out more about their online MBA experience and how it has impacted their professional development.

Launching a new-found career in advertising and technology

After graduating with her MBA in 2016, Stephanie moved from Montreal to New York City to open an office for a software company, at which she was Vice President of Business Development. She stayed in the city to take on a new role as Vice President of Digital Strategy and Programmatic Sales at OUTFRONT Media, one of the biggest billboard media owners in North America.

“Manhattan offers a brilliant environment in which to build a career in advertising and technology,” said Stephanie.

Recently, Stephanie took on a newly created role at Verizon Media, where she oversees their global digital out-of-home business. She also sits on the Board of Directors for the Digital Signage Federation and Canadian Association of New York and is highly involved in the committees of associations including the DPAA, OAAA and Ad Club of New York.

Given the global nature of her career and busy work schedule, Stephanie knew that when it came to deciding which MBA was right for her, a full-time on-campus MBA was “out of the question.”

What she needed was an MBA that offered an international perspective and opportunity to ground her practical international business experience with academic principles.

It became apparent that the online MBA ticked all the right boxes with its academic rigour, intellectual challenges and highly adaptable curriculum and study schedule – giving students the opportunity to decide which subjects to study, in whichever order they like.

“Being able to study on my own schedule gave me much needed flexibility and sure passed the time on long-haul flights!” said Stephanie.

A self-proclaimed “academic at heart”, Stephanie credits the MBA with helping her get to where she is today and where she hopes to be in the future.

“While the technology industry has played a major role in proving just how influential young leaders can be, there often remains a certain opinion of how ‘experience’ or age should be tied to specific job titles and functions.

“As I will age slower than my ambition to climb the ladder, an MBA has helped to quicken my pace at effectively navigating through business requirements and relationships,” she said.

Stephanie is looking forward to keeping up her track record as “someone who can think big and make it happen.”

“I am passionate about the industry I work in, I’ve assisted in driving it to where it is today and have no desire to slow down.

“My goal is that this coincides with C-level titles in the near future.”

And what about a doctorate?

“Halfway into my doctoral thesis at Edinburgh Business School, I am eager to earn this degree and begin sharing my specialised knowledge about integrated marketing communications and media synergies,” she said.

Getting ahead in business development

When Roberto decided to pursue an MBA, he knew that he needed to find one that would fit around his life. Like Stephanie and Mark, Roberto also had a lot to balance when it came to his personal life, work and studies; from changing job positions and companies, to becoming a father. 

The online MBA at Edinburgh Business School was the obvious choice.

“I was looking for a programme that could adapt to my life and facilitate learning, rather than creating rigid schedules.

“Edinburgh Business School offers the opportunity to study each course self-paced, yet it provides support from the faculty whenever it is needed, plus there’s a huge network of MBA students and professionals to rely on.

“Having all this freedom allowed me to focus on learning rather than adding more complexity to my life, and when I look back it was a good choice,” said Roberto.

It was also important for Roberto that he studied a degree that prioritises lifelong professional development and growth. With the online MBA, Roberto had the opportunity to study a wide range of courses and electives that allowed him to gain valuable insights and essentially helped prepare him for a new job in a new company that would change the course of his career.

For much of his MBA, Roberto was a product manager for a leading company in measurement solutions. In the same year that he graduated, Roberto was offered a role in business development in which he is responsible for the long-term strategic development within his business area, bridging the gap between the market and technology.

Roberto stresses the importance of having to integrate practically all the subjects that he was taught in the MBA into his daily job.

“The key contribution lies in giving all subjects an inter-connected structure and the right level of depth. I think this is important in today’s world. Sometimes managers miss this holistic approach, and, in the worst cases, this results in poor decision-making.

“I would say that so far the MBA has contributed to making me a more skilled and knowledgeable professional, who can tackle a business problem from various perspectives,” he said.

From pharmaceuticals to financial services as a senior manager

Mark graduated from the online MBA in 2020. Now, he is a senior manager in a global role within the financial services industry.

After speaking with a couple of friends who were currently studying for their MBA at Heriot-Watt University, Mark felt that the programme was a good fit with his busy lifestyle.

Flexibility is a common requirement among online MBA candidates and Mark is no different. Tight schedules and general life responsibilities mean many prospective MBA candidates see the online MBA as a way to get the best of both worlds.

“I wanted an internationally recognised MBA and one which I could do whilst still retaining my job,” he said.

Although juggling a full-time job and full-time studies while starting a family was “pretty intensive” at times, Mark looks back at his online MBA experience with a sense of pride and achievement.

“What really impressed me is that I enjoyed studying, as I knew it was all practical stuff that I could implement immediately.

“Completing the MBA also gave me better confidence, awareness and knowledge to tackle difficult situations differently,” he said.

Because of the online MBA, Mark switched his career in sales and marketing within the pharmaceutical industry to sales operations in financial services and secured promotion into a global role as a senior manager in less than three years.

“The MBA provided me not just with practical tools to use day-to-day but also more awareness, confidence and belief. This positively influenced my performance on my job,” he said.

This article was originally published in April 2021 .

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Written by

As the Head of Sponsored Content for and (until September 2021), Stephanie created and published a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. She attended the University of Portsmouth where she earned a BA in English Language and an MA in Communication and Applied Linguistics.

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