Alumni Spotlight: Stuart Schisgall

By Amanda Blumeyer

An entrepreneur who started his own digital marketing company, Searics, Stuart stepped out of his comfort zone to build skills in marketing and sales. Hear about Stuart’s MBA experience, which includes representing Kellstadt to meet Warren Buffett.

What marketing class at DePaul was most valuable to you and why?

 Stuart Schisgall, MBA, Senior Digital Strategist at AbelsonTaylor. DePaul Class of 2017

Stuart Schisgall, MBA, Senior Digital Strategist at AbelsonTaylor. DePaul Class of 2017

Zafar Iqbal’s Analytical Tools for Marketers – the content of this class was new to me and challenging. Additionally, there were many projects and reports due during the semester, and it was a perfect balance of group and individual work. Ultimately, the class was valuable as I was always learning new methods, and my teammates helped push me to grow as a student and professional. Each partner was an integral part of the process and the final product was a resounding success for the team and each member.

Is there a marketing class you wish you’d taken during your time at DePaul but didn’t? Which one and why?

As I peruse the class offerings I think Consulting Skills may have been a great addition to my MBA program as many of my marketing projects are consultative in nature and I’m hired as an advisor instead of just viewed as an employee in many of my projects.

What lessons did you take away from your time at DePaul that you use in your career today?

Networking was an essential element of my time at Kellstadt and throughout the MBA. While Dr. Whalen’s Effective Business Communication course was the closest class I’ve taken to improve my awareness of how to communicate more effectively, the ability to meet new people and build rapport with them quickly is one of the greatest skills that the MBA Association assisted me with.

Additionally, the MBA required me to take classes that were challenging and new to me both academically and professionally. I think stepping out of your comfort zone is a great way to achieve personal growth and my MBA allowed me to continually develop the skill of creating a plan on how to effectively approach novel situations and projects at work and in life.

Do you have any recommendations for current students on how to get the most out of their experience at DePaul?

The Kellstadt program is mostly a part-time program so it’s essential to stay involved to build meaningful relationships with your classmates and professors. There are three things that I’d recommend for any student at Kellstadt:

  1. Get involved with a student run organization and take a leadership role in that organization. I was on the Board of the MBAA and the relationships I made through the MBAA organization led to some of the most meaningful relationships and friendships I had at Kellstadt.

  2. When Kellstadt offers a unique opportunity, take advantage of it. Weeks after starting my MBA students had the opportunity to represent Kellstadt to meet Warren Buffett. It took a couple hours to think of my responses to the questions to be selected to meet Mr. Buffett, but the opportunity to bond over a short trip with other classmates and meet Mr. Buffett was the most interesting experience I had at Kellstadt.

  3. Get to know your professors. There were so many professors at Kellstadt that were willing to help me with projects and other challenges one faces throughout their MBA program and building those bonds really helped create a more meaningful learning environment for myself and helped me feel more connected to the MBA.

How do you go about networking? What recommendations do you have for current students who are looking to grow their network?

Networking is a continual element of life. You never stop networking and it should be done face to face whenever possible (not on LinkedIn). As an alum I’ve registered to the DePaul alumni network and attend events whenever possible and try to attend other alumni or business networking events weekly to keep growing my network and stay abreast of items within digital marketing.

For students, I’d highly suggest taking a leadership role on a student run organization and join the MBAA. Go to the events whenever they’re held and try to meet new people each time. Don’t just hang out with people you already know. Yes, that’s more comfortable but if you can make one meaningful connection at each networking event I think that’s a success. I wouldn’t focus on the quantity of people you meet, rather focus on making meaningful connections in the classroom, as part of a student organization and at the networking events. It’s easy to identify people who are just trying to pitch themselves so focus on quality, not quantity.

What's next in your career path?

I started my own digital marketing company, Searics, LLC last year and I’m trying to grow that all the time while continuing to work at an advertising agency. Ultimately, I’ve found a niche as a marketer and a salesperson and have found the most joy professionally when I’m able to merge those two skillsets and growing my company has been the perfect opportunity to merge these two skills.

Alumni Spotlight: Andrea Galvez

By Amanda Blumeyer

We recently got to chat with Andrea about her experience at DePaul, check out her wonderful insights!

 Andrea Galvez, Director of Marketing & Member experience at CFSI

Andrea Galvez, Director of Marketing & Member experience at CFSI

When did you graduate from Kellstadt and what was your degree concentration?

In August, 2018 - just a few months ago! I have a dual concentration MBA in Marketing Strategy & Planning and Leadership & Change Management. 

Why did you decide to go to grad school and why did you choose DePaul?

I chose DePaul because their business network is impressive and the commitment to viewing business as more than just the bottom line was important to me. Learning that there are multiple stakeholders, not just shareholders, for whom businesses need to optimize value, resonated with me. 

 

What lessons did you take away from your time at Kellstadt that you use in your current role as Director, Marketing & Member Experience at CFSI?

Wow - so many! Coming from a marketing background, learning to talk the talk of my other colleagues, across finance, operations, research, was such an eye-opener. I didn't realize how little I knew before my MBA. Courses in the management department have helped me identify my weaknesses as a manager and gave me concrete tools to improve those skills.  

What marketing class at DePaul was most valuable to you and why?

This is tough! Can I say it was a tie between two courses? One was tactical and the other strategic and I think they were both so valuable to me:

·       MKT 540 (Developing Sustainable Business Models) with Iqbal Zafar

·       MKT 536 (Pricing Strategy) with Tim Smith

Both are not to be missed. You'll work hard, but you'll learn more than you could imagine. 

Is there a marketing class you wish you’d taken during your time at DePaul but didn’t? Which one and why?

No - I mean, I'd love to take them all! But was happy to explore outside of marketing, where I've spent my career and already have a solid foundation. 

Do you have any recommendations for current students on how to get the most out of their experience at DePaul?

Get involved! I was on the board of Graduate Women in Business and made awesome friendships. I'd say, use all the resources Kellstadt offers you, which includes reaching out to professors, utilizing the career center, and take advantage of your free access to publications in the A-Z library.

How do you go about networking? What recommendations do you have for current students who are looking to grow their network?

Very few people love to network. I'd suggest joining a student organization. It will make you be committed to attending your group's events, and puts you in a "host" role that makes it much more natural to approach people and get to know them than if you were just attending. But you just have to have confidence that you can bring something of value to the conversation and then go do it!  

What are your career goals or where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

I love strategy and building teams. In the next 5 years I'd like to expand on my experience to play a bigger role in growing a business. I'd like to learn as much as I can as I strive toward a C-suite position; the social value the company is bringing to this world is very important to me - I want to help a company grow that is also creating a positive difference.  

 

Alumni Spotlight: Rosemary Griesmer

By Amanda Blumeyer

As part of our Highlight series, we're shining a light on notable Kellstadt alumni. Get inspired by their success stories and learn how to make the most of your time at DePaul.

 Rosemary Griesmer, Head of Global Marketing – Elavon  DePaul – Class of 1996

Rosemary Griesmer, Head of Global Marketing – Elavon

DePaul – Class of 1996


What is your academic background?

I earned my bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Ohio State University, and then I went through the evening MBA program at DePaul, specializing in Finance. Since I had the foundation in marketing already, I wanted to focus my Master’s studies on more of the financial aspects – interpreting income statements, understanding company performance, etc.

Which marketing class at DePaul was most valuable to you and why?

So many courses were memorable, but one that stands out was a business communications course – I believe it’s now MKT 576: Effective Business Communications – which I took with Professor Whalen. At the time I was not a confident public speaker, but in my current role it’s a rare day when I’m not in front of a group of people presenting an idea. The ability to effectively articulate a pitch, ask for funding, or clearly present an argument is so critical to success at any level in our careers.

I vividly recall the time in Professor Whalen’s class where we were videotaped giving presentations.  He had a genius hack (not that we used that term back in the day!) of re-playing the footage in fast-forward. This dramatically highlights a speaker’s physical tics – things like unconsciously shifting back and forth from foot to foot, repeated gesturing, putting your hair behind you ear, etc. - and can diminish your ability to effectively deliver your message. Being cognizant of these kind of subconscious things is so important when you’re presenting, and Professor Whalen was instrumental in helping me improve this critical skill.

Is there a marketing class you wish you’d taken during your time at DePaul but didn’t? Which one and why?

I was looking on DePaul’s website and noticed MKT 583: Monetizing Marketing Strategy. ROI-centric marketing is an expectation in today’s economy. The ability to tie marketing expenses to revenue contribution is critical – tracking and analyzing lead attribution, understanding the conversion of leads to opportunities and then closed wins, for example.  Getting access to this data is certainly easier with today’s technology, and the art of quantifying and articulating how any marketing programs contribute to overall company performance is well worth the time and effort. I certainly wish I’d taken a class like MKT 583 when was at DePaul!

How do you go about networking? What recommendations do you have for current students who are looking to grow their network?

I encourage anyone to invest time in networking. When I was living in Chicago and attending DePaul, I participated in a women’s mentoring program where young women just starting out in our careers were paired with high-profile female leaders in their industries. It’s so important to have the opportunity to learn from people who have already gone through similar challenges you may be facing at work today.

Here in Atlanta, Elavon is a major sponsor for Technology Association of Georgia, and their events are a great resource for networking, as just one example. It’s not just about who you meet at these events – though that’s important, too – but it’s also about the topics of conversation. What you find is that your counterparts at other firms are encountering the same issues across the board in any given industry. Struggles are shared universally. The discussions you have at a networking event can be so helpful; your peers can often provide fresh perspectives on the same issues you’re encountering. You might learn about a new software or training program utilized successfully at another company, which you might be able to implement into your own.

What's next in your career path?

I started my career in sales at JCB, a Japanese credit card company, which is when I was enrolled in DePaul’s evening MBA program. After a relocation to Atlanta in time for the 1996 Olympics here, I transitioned to business development and product marketing at Equifax, followed by a brief stint in supply chain management field marketing at Manhattan Associates. This ultimately led to a global product marketing role four years ago at Elavon, the payments subsidiary of US Bank.

I’ve recently been promoted to SVP & Head of Global Marketing at Elavon. It’s an exciting time for our business; US Bank has a keen focus on the fintech space, and is committed to further strengthening Elavon’s competitive position in eCommerce and integrated payments. In an industry known for disruptors and technological innovation, it’s a privilege to be leading the transformation of our marketing team’s organizational structure, skills and tools to contribute to our company’s success. We’ve grown our North American marketing team by 40% in the last six months, and have a similar initiative underway in the EU, so there’s never a dull day!