How do you take your career to the next level with executive education? How do you make that leap to your dream job? In this two-part series, the Ivy Exec team interviewed Kennesaw State University EMBA alumnus Jason Vasquez, Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Applied Industrial Technologies, to give you a first-hand look at what it is like to do an executive MBA degree and how someone can benefit from professional development like such.
Why did you decide to pursue an EMBA in the first place?
I decided to pursue an EMBA degree as an aspect of my personal development for improving my leadership skills and business acumen while expanding my personal business network and providing a facet to my resume which would serve as a differentiator as advancement opportunities developed in my career.
What did you find beneficial or unique about the Kennesaw State University Executive MBA program? What drew you to the school and program?
The Kennesaw State EMBA program provides numerous benefits within the program ranging from the curriculum which educates and informs students on today’s real-world issues, opportunities, and challenges, along with providing you avenues for strategic solutions for your current role no matter the industry. The entire EMBA staff was another differentiator within the program. The EMBA staff does an outstanding job communicating the material to the whole class while ensuring to take the necessary time to allow an understanding of the content while making themselves available away from class for follow up questions.
I was drawn to the program by the affordability, quality reputation of the staff, numerous positive testimonials, and, most importantly, the world renowned reputation of being one of the best Executive MBA programs in the United States. As I completed the program, all of the above points which drew me to the program were confirmed first hand and exceeded my high expectations.
What kinds of career change/advancement did you expect to make before going into the program?
I entered the program with realistic expectations that the EMBA degree would expose and prepare my skillset to improve in my current role while allowing my resume to get ready for future opportunities. As I went through the curriculum, I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the skills learned during the program were able to be utilized immediately in my current role. By implementing my learnings in my current role, I was able to demonstrate to our Executive Leadership Team the benefits of the program and how these skills were transferring to improving performance in my current role. The improvements in the role allowed me to be considered for advancement based on my successes.
It has been a year since you graduated, how has the EMBA degree and experience impacted your career advancement?
In the year since the program, I was promoted to the Vice President of Sales for all U.S. Operations in July 2017. The performance of the Division the last year has reached record levels for an organization which is 95 years old. Based on the performance in the last year, effective August 1st 2018, I will add the Marketing Division to my responsibilities making my role the Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
The EMBA degree and experiences impact on my career advancement over the last year has been priceless allowing me to actively participate and provide value in high level meetings of many facets.
Did you find the EMBA program to present great networking opportunities? How have you leveraged relationships carried forth from the program?
The EMBA program has provided numerous networking opportunities with Kennesaw State faculty, alumni, fellow classmates, and many business leaders in the Atlanta area. A benefit of the EMBA network is the willingness for assistance to questions, advice, and employment opportunities, it is truly a value added aspect of the program. If you do not utilize the full benefits of the EMBA network you are missing a tremendous opportunity to improve your effectiveness personally and professionally.
Jason W. Vasquez Vice President – Sales & Marketing Applied Industrial Technologies
Jason began his Applied® career in 1999 as part of the Applied Industrial Technologies college recruitment COMET program. In 2000, Jason was named Account Manager at the Youngstown, OH service center. He was later promoted to Service Center Manager and then General Manager at the Elyria service center serving Northeast Ohio. In 2004, Jason joined the Strategic Accounts group as a National Account Specialist– Automotive in Michigan leading the organization’s operations in the domestic and transplant automotive industry before serving as a Strategic Account Manager responsible for the organization’s contract agreements.
In 2009, Jason was named a Regional Manager in our Midwest Area covering Ohio, followed by Director of Strategic Accounts– Northeast in 2012 covering all contractual business in the Northeast sector of the United States.
Jason was promoted to Vice President – Southeast Area in August 2013 which covered 10 states in the Southeastern United States. In June 2017, Jason was named Vice President-Sales with responsibility for leading Applied’s sales efforts across the 325 U.S. service centers, including the Company’s MRO-Fluid Power Sales Specialists and Strategic Accounts organization. In August of 2018, Jason added the responsibilities of the Marketing division which includes, Global Pricing, Product Management, Corporate Communications, Applied.com & Digital Marketing departments.
Jason received a bachelor’s degree in industrial distribution and engineering sales from the University of Nebraska at Kearney as well as an Executive MBA from Kennesaw State University’s Coles College of Business.