“Technology isn’t going anywhere, and WSU implemented it well into the course structure, which was important to me in choosing an online program.”
Executive MBA Online, Class of 2019
Director, Digital with Textron Specialized Vehicles
For Bradley Hof, 2019 WSU Executive MBA Online graduate, the program enabled him to grow in areas he didn’t know possible, as well as earn the opportunity for a promotion within his company.
“The new CIO of my company hooked me up with our president as a mentor after we discussed my career goals,” Hof said. “When we met, the president told me I needed more practical experience to hit the goals I had. He strongly recommended an executive MBA, which I had never heard of—so the search was on to find the right program.”
As a senior IT manager for Textron and vice president of a Florida-based boating business, Hof knew he was looking for an online program which would enable him to continue working while he developed the skills to excel in his current roles and reach for new goals. Based on the feedback from his company’s president and personal interests, there were specific criteria Hof was looking for in his ideal program.
“My ultimate decision came down to technology. I’m a big believer in data-driven decisions, data as an asset to the company, which was talked about in the curriculum—plus being online and having an online community,” said Hof. “Washington State was definitely forward thinking in its curriculum. Technology isn’t going anywhere. They implemented it well into the course structure, which was important to me in choosing an online program.”
“You build up a high-quality network working alongside these students—some of whom are in completely different roles or even work for your company’s competitor.”
EMBA offers immediate benefits
The EMBA coursework helped Hof fill in knowledge gaps he didn’t know he had. “I ran my own company for 12 years, and I thought I knew it all,” Hof said. “But I realized after the first class that I didn’t know anything. Every class has been adding to my development.”
Throughout the online courses, Hof learned practical business concepts he could immediately apply at work as well as critical thinking skills such as how to analyze case studies, manage project execution, and effectively lead a team. The EMBA granted him the opportunity to learn from a different vantage point, as the courses are taught from an executive’s point of view.
Hof’s growth through the Executive MBA Online courses even landed him the promotion he had been seeking. “For my Information Systems Analysis course, I created a business case for a mock company’s data science program and I showed it to my boss,” he said. “He loved it and showed it around—and I got the new role.”
The gift that keeps on giving
After Hof’s promotion to director of data science, different aspects of the coursework became even more applicable in his new position. “Part of my role in data science is performance management of the company,” said Hof. “The accounting course—which I didn’t think I would like since I’m not really an accounting guy—was more about measurement and performance. It was applicable right from day one. Every class has been that way.”
Hof noted that one of his favorite aspects of the program were the group projects. “The way the program is set up lends itself to a lot of collaboration and networking. You build up a high-quality network working alongside these students—some of whom are in completely different roles or even work for your company’s competitor. We learned about each other’s roles without going too much into a competitive area. That was kind of fun.”
When asked what his advice would be for other professionals pursuing their Executive MBA, Hoff said, “My advice would be having company sponsorship. If your bosses and executives know that you’re doing this, and you’re visible, at least in my case it worked out well. Then, during the classes themselves, find ways to apply the content to your current role. One of the things the Executive MBA does is give you insight into different areas of the company that you might not be familiar with.”