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Day in the Life of an MBA Grad and Entrepreneur Specializing in Marketing

Day in the Life of an MBA Grad and Entrepreneur Specializing in Marketing  main image

Stanford Graduate School of Business is ranked in first place in the QS TopMBA Rankings by Specialization 2019 for both Entrepreneurship and Marketing. To find out more about the career outcomes for Stanford students specializing in these areas, we spoke to Jennifer Apy, a 1994 graduate who launched her own marketing company.

Jennifer Apy was speaking to Francesca Di Meglio.

My background

To have a more flexible work schedule, I launched Innovate Strategy Group about 15 years ago, initially working on a part-time basis. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am the principal consultant and founder of the firm. I work as a marketing consultant with a network of marketing specialists to form virtual marketing teams for clients that include small businesses and startups all over the world.

Nowadays, I run the business full-time, but some months are more than full-time, just like a startup. MBA studies opened my eyes to the positive societal impact that any well-led organization can have.

As a result, I have welcomed the opportunity to serve on the boards of nonprofits, such as Junior Achievement and a local youth performing arts company, so I can play an active role in advocating for the education of young people in business and the arts.

How I use the MBA degree

The value of an MBA isn’t based on how much you earn at your jobs in the first decade. It’s about the sandbox you play in for the next three decades, and the sandcastles you can create because you have the vision of what they can be. In every stage of my career, I have leveraged my MBA education.

For example, I use “b-school” graph-like sketches to help colleagues visualize the rationale of business strategies. The MBA program provided me with a structured way of thinking about business strategy and the role of leaders in an organization. It helped me form a general management perspective that has allowed me to provide added value in every job I’ve had since business school.

In addition, thanks to the diversity at Stanford GSB, I learned to work with people who are different from me and to manage these diverse relationships in a professional and productive manner.

Finally, I have managed teams and cross-functional groups with the confidence and conviction that the collaborative, creative, risk-taking approach to business that we experienced at business school is possible and vitally important to spur innovation and create jobs and corporate value.

I love my job because I get to talk with smart, passionate entrepreneurs about their companies and brainstorm ideas on how to help people by leading them to discover the company’s products and services. By building scalable marketing programs, teams and organizations, and helping entrepreneurs succeed, I believe I’m able to have a greater impact on society as a whole.

Discover a typical day in my life:

Morning

Since I work remotely most of the time, I’m in my home office answering emails by about seven or eight in the morning. Occasionally, I will have a 6:00 conference call or a Sunday evening call with Hong Kong, which is Monday morning for those there. 

I love the flexibility of being a consultant, but I am conscientious about being available when it’s convenient for my clients. I just need to remember their time zone. I have occasionally taken calls while traveling (for business and pleasure), and many of my clients never realize I’ve left the country.

Midday

After East Coast conference calls, I may have an in-person client meeting later in the day. So, I’ll grab a quick workout, while watching a webinar or listening to a podcast. Then, I’ll shower and be out the door within an hour.

Lunch

Unless I’m meeting someone for lunch, I’m usually at my desk. I might be reviewing or analyzing campaign results or agency proposals, writing briefs or strategy plans or presentations, or prepping for a sponsorship negotiation on behalf of a client.

Mid-afternoon

If I’m at a client site, and I’m able to zip home before the heavy traffic starts, I can say hello to my children when they get home from school. Then, I return to my office to work for a few hours before dinner.

Day’s end

My workday doesn’t really have a fixed end time, which is the price of flexibility. But after a quick dinner break with the family, I may hop back online to follow up on the day’s meetings or prep for the next day’s agenda.

For me, marketing is about connecting customers with the company as a whole and enabling the company to benefit customers’ lives in a way they can’t live without. It’s hard to lead growth-driving marketing campaigns without a thorough understanding of how the company operates and the perspective of a CEO.

Francesca Di Meglio

Francesca Di Meglio has written about higher education for two decades. She covered business schools and all aspects of management education for what became Bloomberg Businessweek from May 2004 to December 2013. Di Meglio was the consultant editor for the book Admitted: An Interactive Workbook for Getting into a Top MBA Program (85 Broads Publishing, 2011), which was written by admissions consultant Betsy Massar. In addition, she is a family travel and parenting blogger at the Italian Mamma website

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