2019 MBAs To Watch: Bill Morton, University of Maryland (Smith)

Bill Morton

Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

“Energetic data nerd. Enjoys learning and laughing, preferably at the same time.”

Hometown: Redwood City, California

Fun fact about yourself: I helped create a sustainable surf resort in Nicaragua, which won Trip Advisor’s Award of Excellence in 2015-2018 years. 

Undergraduate School and Degree: Pepperdine University, B.S. International Business

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Beachbody (the company that developed P90X and Insanity) as a Campaign Analytics Manager.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Dell Technologies, Consumer Online Intern in Austin, Texas 

Where will you be working after graduation? Dell Technologies, Senior Merchandising Advisor.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Board Member, Data Analytics and Technology Club
  • Member, Supply Chain and Operations Club
  • Member, Human Capital Club
  • Smith Fellow Scholarship
  • Team Leader, Notre Dame Tech Case Competition
  • Graduate Assistant, Office of Career Services
  • Graduate Assistant, Admissions Office
  • Facilitator, Career Conference Workshop
  • Host, Smith Showcase
  • Co-Host, Admitted Students Weekend

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My first year, I was determined to get out of my comfort zone and decided to act as team lead for the Notre Dame MBA Tech Innovation Case Competition. Teams were asked to answer how blockchain technology could improve Value Add Tax (VAT) and topics that are complicated and technical on their own and even more complex when combined. After two months of speaking to blockchain and VAT experts, internal team debates and several all-nighters, we presented in South Bend, Indiana, and won 2nd place! We were all proud of the accomplishment – we worked hard to understand each topic and put our ideas into concise and coherent arguments against strong competition. The experience gave me insight on how challenging it is for leaders and change agents to disrupt highly established industries, and how critical those changes are for lasting success.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I joined Beachbody, my department had limited ability to analyze the effectiveness of various marketing campaigns. In an effort to create data-enabled decision-making, I created several reporting dashboards and designed an A/B testing process to inform and improve marketing efforts. Within my first two years, consistent reporting and testing processes helped the department nearly double its revenue from $11 million to $21 million. By the end of my tenure at Beachbody, I helped create a system that automatically analyzes all marketing campaigns and can predict customer purchasing behavior.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? This is a tough one as Smith has so many great professors! I’d have to say Wendy Moe, the Associate Dean of Master’s Programs. I was lucky enough to take two of her classes — one for my MBA track, Market Forecasting, and another for my Masters of Marketing Analytics track, Marketing Strategy. She is able to break down abstract mathematical concepts into manageable pieces and apply them to real-world business problems in a way that engages both poets and quants. She’s also straightforward and tells it like it is, and with dry sense of humor, which I really appreciate.

What was your favorite MBA Course? Game Theory with Professor Shreevardhan Lele was incredibly challenging and unlike any class I have ever taken. The course is fast-paced, and the material had wide-reaching societal implications beyond business. It encouraged me to re-evaluate the decisions that businesses and communities make. I find myself applying the principles of game theory in surprising ways, like when playing tennis with my wife!

Why did you choose this business school? First, I liked that I could earn dual master’s degrees (MBA and Marketing Analytics) in two years. Second, the small class size was also a big draw – I am an inclusive person and enjoy getting to know people well, and a smaller program facilitates a tight-knit community. Most importantly, I chose Smith because of the feeling I got at Admitted Students Weekend – all the prospective students, current students, and faculty genuinely wanted to be there. That attitude has really held true throughout these two years – my peers and the faculty are exceptional, positive individuals.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be excited to join an inclusive and collaborative community. Smith is a smaller program and each individual’s attitude and presence makes a large impact.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Rubbing Testudo’s nose (a UMD tradition) will bring you luck on your final exams. From personal experience, I can tell you that is not true.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? How quickly it will fly by. First semester, I was drinking from a fire hose. Second semester, things were just cooling down before I headed off to my internship. Second year comes around, and suddenly graduation is only 10 weeks away. So, enjoy the friends you’ve made, make some new ones, and squeeze every bit out of this opportunity, because it’s unlikely you’ll get to experience anything like it again.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Coming from a highly analytical and quantitative background, it’s been an eye-opening experience on the importance of social skills. Many individuals attend business school and hone their quantitative skills because they easily measured and heavily emphasized in core classes. What I observed during group work, my internship, and in speaking with executives is that the most successful leaders have the common ability to build trust and manage relationships, no matter how quantitative their role.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Smith’s motto is “Lead Fearlessly,” and I think Kalonji Sutherland-Madhere is the epitome of it. One of the first times I experienced Kalonji – because meeting him is truly an experience – was during our orientation’s in-house case competition. We’d all just met and were nervous, but we all were trying to put our best faces forward. Here comes this guy who starts his team’s presentation with an insanely energetic and fantastical story, captivating the entire audience. When it was all done, I think his group ended up winning the whole competition. Kalonji just handles every encounter with humility, energy and confidence – he’s fearless.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My mom. She is continually looking for her next chapter in life and her next adventure. She didn’t get a chance to go to college or graduate school. Since I had the chance, there was no way I wasn’t going to take that leap and embark on this adventure.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Big Short. Challenging conventional wisdom isn’t easy, but it’s probably the most important thing a leader can do.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? If I hear “synergy” one more time…

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…in the initial stages of starting a marketing analytics consulting business. Or being a surf instructor in Nicaragua.”

What dollar value would you placed on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Priceless…I’m kidding. I wouldn’t even know where to start to put a dollar value on my experience, but what I can say is that attending Smith is worth much, much more than I paid for it.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Start my own marketing analytics company for small-to-medium-sized businesses so they can keep up with the giants.
  • Learn how to play the drums – I have horrible rhythm so hopefully it will help.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone who tried to get the most out of the business school experience – both socially and academically – and who was always willing to help my peers with a smile on my face.   

Hobbies? Surfing, weightlifting, entering data competitions (I told you I was a nerd), attending concerts and comedy shows, and finding new ways to tease my wife.

What made Bill such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

“Bill is a true standout of the MBA program, excelling in academics, networking, leadership, and professional success, while also being a newlywed! Bill is a dual MBA and MS Marketing Analytics student and he will accomplish earning both degrees in just two academic years. This is a testament to his time management skills and incredible work ethic. Bill worked at Dell Inc., as a US Consumer Online MBA intern last summer and will join them full-time in Austin, TX after graduation. Dell is a great fit for Bill as he will be able to combine his passions for technology, analytics, and customer-first marketing. Bill has taken his unique experience as a dual graduate student and merged his MBA and MS in Marketing Analytics academic experiences to be able to translate high-level analyses to practical marketing efforts. Through this process, Bill has not only connected with MBA students but also many MS students, creating a bond with both cohorts. Bill has also been a strong member of the community and has acted as the ‘face of Smith’ to prospective MBA students as the emcee of many Maryland Smith Admissions events. His passion, thoughtfulness, and engagement create an atmosphere of positive energy that is infectious to his classmates.”

Wendy W. Moe
Associate Dean of Master’s Programs
Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland 

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