When Ben Samuel landed a job as associate vice president of technology at Cox Communications in 2019, he seriously pushed himself outside of his comfort zone. The same year, he took on yet another challenge by enrolling in Robinson’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program.
“I’m always asking myself how I can keep growing and learning,” Samuel said. “That’s where Robinson came in.”
Samuel had always wanted to pursue a master’s, but the demands of work made it untenable. However, several executives at Cox encouraged him to go for it. In fact, many of his new colleagues had earned an MBA from Robinson and raved about their experiences.
By simultaneously starting the position at Cox and beginning EMBA coursework, Samuel was able to shape his role based on what he was learning in class. For example, he immediately applied new knowledge of organizational design and finance to the framework he was building at Cox. He also dedicated entire projects and papers to addressing issues and questions that arose at work.
Samuel had to balance not only a full-time job and coursework, but also his family. He successfully navigated those obligations by dedicating Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights to studying and knocking out assignments. His cohort comprised experienced professionals with equally full plates. The close bonds he developed with his peers helped him handle the EMBA program’s intensity.
Just before graduating in 2022, Samuel grew even closer to his classmates during a two-week international residency in South Africa. The group met with leaders from nonprofits, start-ups, and billion-dollar companies to discuss the complexity of conducting business in South Africa.
“The program rounded me out a lot. The academic lens and amazing people gave me a new perspective and helped me develop into a better leader,” Samuel said. “It was one of the best experiences of my life, if not the best. I’m super glad I did it.”