“It’s the kind of environment that raises your standards and makes you better. It’s not just about the ivy walls and the professors and the reputation and the degree it’s about who you’re spending time with over the course of two or more years and EMTM was exceptional.”
Michael Laxineta, EMTM’02
Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
The Magazine Group
Michael Laxineta, EMTM’02
With undergraduate training in business and entrepreneurship, Michael embarked on a career in media, beginning with a weekly newspaper group where he rose to the position of publisher. He left the company, and California, to join PR Newswire, where he served as vice president of sales and operations for the Eastern region at the time he applied to EMTM.
As he had progressed at PR Newswire and the company strived toward more advanced services, including distribution of content on the web and measuring the effectiveness of client communications, Michael felt his lack of technical experience to be a hindrance. “This was the year 2000 and virtually all of the serious decisions I was part of, or witnessing, had a technical component, but the senior executives, while strong in traditional functional areas like sales, marketing and finance, were not prepared to make tough calls on technology. On these very important issues we had to rely almost blindly on technical advisers.” In order to perform more effectively in his role, and to prepare himself to succeed in future leadership roles, Michael sought to round out his education.
As business had always been his primary interest, Michael first investigated MBA programs. It was while researching Wharton’s MBA that he came across EMTM. The program was an easy train commute from his then-home in New York and PR Newswire had a Philadelphia bureau that he visited regularly. His employer was willing to sponsor his education, so Michael visited campus and found the program extremely attractive. “The people were first-rate, very aggressive and bright. It’s the kind of environment that raises your standards and makes you better. It’s not just about the ivy walls and the professors and the reputation and the degree it’s about who you’re spending time with over the course of two or more years and EMTM was exceptional.”
Within weeks of his first semester Michael found a way to bring the EMTM curriculum, particularly a Mergers and Acquisitions class, back to the office. He approached the company’s CEO and said he would like to get involved on that side of the business. “He said, ‘Okay, here’s a potential deal we haven’t addressed yet.’ He gave me a five-minute briefing and handed me the file. From there I got involved in other M&A transactions where I was responsible for strategic evaluation, due diligence, deal structure and negotiations. Without question EMTM prepared me to assist my company in this way, and the reputation of the school and program gave the company’s leadership confidence that I had the skills to handle the work.”
With his newly gained skills and confidence Michael received more opportunities and was promoted into positions in strategy and marketing. “The more breadth I got from EMTM, the wider my scope of responsibility at work.” While in Marketing, Michael was tapped to lead the content portion of the annual national training conference. Wanting to expose his colleagues to the quality of training he received, he reached out to Keith Weigelt, his strategy professor while in EMTM, to help him develop a program on negotiations and strategy for 260 attendees. “Professor Weigelt commanded the room for two days and gave them skills they will use throughout their careers. The feedback was incredible. It was a highlight of my time at PR Newswire.”
Following PR Newswire, Michael joined Tribune Media Net, where he held leadership positions in sales, marketing and strategy. He was called upon to price the first-ever advertisements on the front page of Tribune’s newspapers (e.g., Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune) and once again worked with Weigelt. “We worked together to structure the analysis and Keith ran Monte Carlo simulations. While I’m not an expert at using the tools, my time in Decision Models taught me how to properly approach the situation. This is one of many times that my EMTM training helped me think through how to approach problems and challenges in a sophisticated manner.”
More recently, Michael joined the Magazine Group where he serves as senior vice president of sales and marketing. He believes EMTM aided him in securing this position. “I can say without hesitation that the degree has been very helpful to me. It’s noticed and it’s appreciated.”