Q&A with Bill Fagan 17EMBA
Working professionals talk ins and outs of getting an EMBA degree and how Goizueta has helped them professionally.
Bill Fagan 17EMBA
Chief Operating Officer
The Aspire Group
Q: Why did you decide to pursue an EMBA degree? What skills were you hoping to gain or changes were you hoping to make professionally?
My company leadership believes in education. Our chairman and founder Dr. Bernie Mullin co-authored the ‘Sport Marketing’ textbook, now in its fourth edition. Continued education is fundamental to our company DNA at The Aspire Group. Therefore, in conversations over my nine-plus year relationship with Bernie, we would constantly discuss higher education.
Furthermore, growing internally within the organization required insights into areas outside of our core functional expertise. For me, graduate education and the in-class environment within a top Executive MBA program would enable me to be exposed to a vast subject matter and learning styles. This cross-functional learning gave me greater comfort in analytics, finance, accounting, strategy and leadership.
Q: Talk about your experiences at Goizueta. How did the program meet or exceed your expectations?
The experience at Goizueta’s EMBA program exceeded my expectations. Eagles fly with eagles and being surrounded by a cohort of eagles was both challenging and invigorating.
The course work, diverse team collaboration and beyond the classroom team building exercises completely changed the way I operate every day of my life. I view challenges from a new lens and will forever have a cohort of alumni who I expect to be lifelong friends.
Q: How have you been able to take what you learned at Goizueta and apply it in your current position? Please give examples.
During the program, I was fortunate to receive a promotion to chief operating officer within my current company. I wouldn’t have been prepared for the dynamic challenges we face daily, had it not been for my EMBA experience at Goizueta.
- Analytics was a blind spot for me going into Goizueta. Post graduation, this has transformed into a strength for me, whereby I now oversee our Performance Analytics function for our entire organization.
- ‘After Action Reviews’ (AARs) — Thanks to group and team exercises throughout my education at Goizueta, it became a standard to perform AARs following team projects. This practical exercise enables a feedback loop and continuous learning applicable back at the office.
- ‘Team Charters’ — The concept of actually writing out roles and responsibilities with a new team, and taking advantage of team members strengths sounds like common sense. Yet, prior to Goizueta, I had never been through this meaningful exercise which enables better teamwork and collaboration.
Q: How have you grown professionally as a result of your Goizueta experience?
The Goizueta experience has provided me a platform to further develop my executive presence. I am more worldly, more self aware, a better teammate and leader.
Q: What did you learn about yourself in Goizueta’s Executive MBA program that surprised you?
The program reinforced some strengths I was aware of, while also opening my eyes to emerging strengths and areas for continued development. I learned that I enjoy presenting in front of an audience and being at the edge of my comfort zone because that is how you grow. I learned that a well balanced, trusting team is more powerful than any obstacle or any individual contributor. I learned that I can be both a leader or in a support role and still add value to the team/organization.
Q: What advice or recommendation would you give to someone thinking about pursuing an EMBA at Goizueta?
I enthusiastically support those considering furthering their education to select Goizueta’s EMBA program when the time is right for them. It is important to manage the expectations of the stakeholders in your life prior to enrolling in the program. You will get more out of your MBA experience if you have support at home and the office. It is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding experiences in my life.