“When you can learn to take risks you find there are more rewards. I know that with my EMTM degree I’m more valuable to my company today.”
Russ Capone, MBA, EMTM’03
Systems Executive for Individual Life Insurance Division
Russ Capone, MBA, EMTM’03
Armed with a BA and an MBA in marketing from St. John's University, Russ began a career in technology management, working at Joseph E. Seagram and Chase Manhattan and landing at Prudential Financial, where he started up the financial systems group within the insurance division. After 25 years in the field he'd reached a senior management position that included responsibility for the division's individual financial systems, software development, problem tracking and technology metrics, as well as oversight of hundreds of people. He was not looking for any particular career shift, but he wanted an opportunity to enhance his technology skills while learning more about business strategy. "Technology is involved in just about every business today and if you can blend that knowledge with business skills you can better adapt to changes in the market."
Even though Russ already had an MBA, he considered pursuing a second business degree to bring himself up to date. "At the time I was contemplating only straight business programs until I came across EMTM in an airline magazine article. It seemed to be much more appropriate for the kind of education I was looking for." He drove down to an on-campus information session — just a couple hours' commute from his home in Queens, NY — and he saw a highly motivated, diverse group of students with whom he knew he could work and learn.
At EMTM, Russ found the executive training he was looking for in core classes like Decision Models, which helped him better identify trends to stay ahead of the competition and weigh options through proven strategies and methodologies. "EMTM enhanced my critical thinking skills and keyed me in on the issues most important to executive management. I learned to make quick but informed decisions and better utilize the time of the executives I report to."
Juggling the demands of work and the program was a management lesson in and of itself: "I learned how to be a better manager, how to delegate and capitalize on the skills of my staff simply because during the two years of the program I was working at a fulltime job — probably spending 50 to 60 hours on average for work, and another 50 for my schoolwork."
Classes like Foundations in Leadership and the program's emphasis on team projects also helped hone his management skills. "On my EMTM team we had one person in New York, another in Delaware, one in New Jersey and another who was transferred to the Midwest. We came together every two weeks and worked on assignments through teleconferencing, just as we would have done at work. At Prudential, I have staff in New Jersey, Florida, Pennsylvania, India, Ireland and Minnesota, and I now feel I have a better understanding of how to make a virtual team effective." Working with professionals across industries he was able to step outside his "comfort zone," take risks and draw on others' expertise.
Today Russ has seen his responsibilities at Prudential broaden even further. "When you can learn to take risks you find there are more rewards. I know that with my EMTM degree I'm more valuable to my company today."