2018 Best Online MBAs: David Campos, Syracuse University (Whitman)

David Campos

Syracuse University, Whitman School

Husband, father, servant leader. Disciplined influencer. Avid reader. Introverted extrovert. Poet, musician and Tetris expert.”

Age: 38

Hometown: Rochester, NY

Fun fact about yourself: I took a 2.5-year hiatus from my engineering career to pursue the dream of music as a full-time touring singer and percussionist in an original rock band.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Lafayette College; B.S. Mechanical Engineering

Where are you currently working?

Garlock Sealing Technologies; Global Segment Business Leader – OEM and EPC Projects

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? In my current role, I have been able to build a competency, awareness, process and intention towards two previously misunderstood and neglected customer segments (OEMs and EPCs). By leading through influence, I have garnered executive support to build teams that have successfully grown the business and are actively writing specifications for our products that will establish a long-term install-base globally.

Why did you choose this school’s online MBA program? Syracuse is a globally-recognized institution and this program offers a combination of core courses, electives, and residencies, making the pursuit of an MBA more well-rounded and challenging. Having the flexibility to participate in classes from anywhere in the world as well as build networks across industries and competencies made the Syracuse program stand out.

What was your favorite part of being in an online MBA program? My favorite part was taking classes with students from a variety of backgrounds and interests from all over the world simultaneously. They offered a broad set of perspectives to all discussion topics and case studies that have helped me think differently and to extract more from the materials.

What was the most surprising thing about an online learning environment? Learning online in a class, small group or one-on-one setting was engaging and impactful.  I was skeptical of how it would feel and how connected one would get to professors, classmates and course content. This opportunity proved to be reflective of my daily life in industry, where much of the communication is done from a distance using technology while the expectation is to find a way to be effective and deliver results in spite of this. The process of learning online has helped me to do my job more effectively.

How did your online experience compare with your in-the-classroom experience as an undergraduate student? While I was able to interact with classmates and professors for both experiences, the online experience was much more flexible to support the scheduling needs of all involved. As an undergrad, being live in a classroom was rigid, stale and tedious. Being able to take class in the comfort of my home or hotel room (in my pajamas) and to listen to lectures, on my own time between live online classes, inspired more commitment on my part as well as fueled my desire to be successful. My undergrad experience was to learn the art of learning and solving problems through science. My MBA was to fill gaps in my knowledge and experience as well as to think about business from an executive perspective.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant for thriving in an online MBA program? Balance and pace yourself. Understand your tendencies, your knowledge gaps and your capacity for learning during different times of day and facing different circumstances. Outside of the core courses, select classes that interest you and will help you grow. Establish a cadence for viewing lectures, completing readings, attending live classes, completing homework and for studying that fits into your life – not the other way around. My experience was fulfilling and challenging while being manageable because I build it into my already-full lifestyle (wife, children, house, job, travel). Attending live classes late at night, I sacrificed sleep and leisure time rather than sacrificing time with my family or allowing it to impact my job performance. I used every flight, train ride and run on the treadmill to complete my readings and view lectures. I would often complete homework, papers and study in my hotel rooms with room service rather than going out to dinner with colleagues. You can thrive by making the program part of your life without making it your entire life. Attend the residencies and meet a diverse set of people. They will make you a better person.

How has your online education helped you in your current job? The process of learning in the online setting is a reflection of how the business world operates today. As a global leader for two growing segments of our business, I often communicate with customers, colleagues and team members in Europe, Middle East and Asia. This requires discipline, thoughtful communication, and the ability to work cooperatively and effectively with teams remotely. Working through team projects, papers and case studies required the same planning and execution and thus was outstanding practice for my daily responsibilities. The content of each class has helped to fill the gaps in my knowledge in experience as well as strengthen and (sometimes) challenge my mental models.

If you had to do it all over again, would you? Why? 100% Yes! Earning my MBA was a defining moment for me. The effort of working through the program, selecting classes, attending residencies (mostly international) and doing it successfully has shown me just how far I can stretch myself. This specific program ticked all the boxes for me. I was able to meet, learn from, befriend, and (hopefully) offer a unique perspective with professors, fellow students and program executives.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? Committed to professional and self-development, my goal is to move into an executive leadership position with the opportunity to drive enterprise-level profitable growth and further develop people, teams, and programs. I do not seek a title. Rather, I seek to make an impact and do so by helping others reach their full potential by delivering results.


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