Degree: Executive MBA
Class Year: 2010
Position and Employer: Chief Revenue Officer, Weblinc Commerce
Sometimes, knowing how much you still have to learn is the key to your future success. Avery Amaya had this revelation while working in London for the European operation of a privately funded entrepreneurial venture.
“I found myself at the forefront of the sale of the company to a big private equity group out of New York,” he said. “That group also bought our biggest competitor so it was kind of a purchase and a merger all at once. I felt a little out of my league.”
Looking back, Amaya realizes it was actually perfect timing though. “I went through this whole process, which I had never been exposed to before, and realized then how much I still had to learn, especially across other functional areas of business.”
It was upon his return to the states, toward the end of the sale of that firm that Amaya decided go to Drexel for his Executive MBA (EMBA). Shortly after, he took a position at WebLinc Commerce as Vice President of Sales and Business Development. In this role he was responsible for branding, marketing and sales, as well as building and maintaining relationships with strategic partners.
“The Drexel Executive MBA program really laid the groundwork to help me understand how to manage innovation.”
“This company has oodles of innovation. Lots of ideas, creativity and exciting stuff happens here. The program gave me a solid framework to develop an infrastructure for my company not only for today but also for what the options are for tomorrow, as we get bigger, potentially take on additional investors and value the company.”
The format of the EMBA program gave him the knowledge he needs to figure out solutions to the business problems he encounters.
“Being put on teams in the projects and simulations where everyone has a functional role helped me understand how to execute. We had some extremely talented people in my class, people in very different roles from some of the biggest companies in the area, from corporate banking companies to big pharmaceuticals. What I was able to learn from them included how they build teams, how they vet ideas and concepts and move forward with them and how they make process improvements. Even though we are a smaller company, it’s really helpful to have that insight, and I would have never gotten it without Drexel.”
He noted the diversity of his EMBA class – including a classmate with a PhD in physics, a lawyer and a top-level finance execute with Pep Boys – and said being able to work on projects with students like these on a daily basis was “priceless.”
“I’ve never been part of a network like the one at Drexel. There are just so many experts in areas like banking, marketing, HR and sales, who I know well and trust. Now I can pick up the phone and call on any given day and say, ‘Hey, I’m running into an issue.’”
Amaya recalls an occasion when he was trying to figure out how best to improve the incentive packages for WebLinc’s sales people.
“It was so cool to be able to call an EMBA classmate who has 20 years of experience doing exactly that for some really great companies. She came over, and we looked at some spreadsheets and shared some ideas. I would have paid a lot of money for this advice in any other situation,” Amaya said, noting that these types of friendships are one of the greatest takeaways from the program.
He tells some of his newer employees, when they get frustrated with a decision they make, “There’s no script. There’s no manual for how to run a business successfully. You evaluate every situation, work with the info you have available to you, look at the resources that you have on your team and what everybody’s skills are, and make the best of it and move forward. And that was definitely something I picked up in the program by working with some really brilliant people on some really difficult projects.”