Sean Pales

“In the program you work side-by-side with people from the defense, telecom, software and biotechnology fields. That allows you to speak to the highest levels of any organization... The EMTM experience has been tremendous.”

Sean Pales, EMTM'07
ProSymmetry Consulting
Cleveland, OH

Sean Pales, EMTM’07

Sean Pales wanted to start his own consulting business but, while he had years of on-the-job experience in project management and business development, he had never set foot in a business school classroom. As an undergraduate at Columbia University, Sean studied international relations and political science before embarking on a short career in investment banking. Later, he transitioned into a position at Microsoft, where he was charged with pre-sales engineering and business development efforts across the Midwestern U.S. "My role was helping companies implement technologies to more effectively manage their project portfolios. I got to a point where I knew I wanted to move forward, but I needed to essentially distill and refocus my experience within a formal business framework." Sean successfully started his own firm, ProSymmetry Consulting, after completing the EMTM program.


Sean knew early on that a straight business degree was less relevant to his goals than a joint program. "I needed a blended program. In my work, the most crucial thing is being able to articulate the technology in terms of business objectives; if you try to sell software solutions that don't serve a business purpose, they're going to be worthless." He read about EMTM online and came to campus for a visit. He was impressed with the program's co-directors and the students he met. He observed a Legal Aspects of Entrepreneurship class and immediately found exactly what he was looking for. "I was able to take away very real, very relevant lessons from that hour, even though I was just sitting in." EMTM's weekend schedule was a good fit, as Sean felt it was the wrong time in his career to leave his job. Though the commute from Cleveland was difficult, he says the investment of his time was more than worthwhile.

Career Impact

In EMTM's core curriculum, Sean found the tools he needed to formulate a realistic model for his own business. In order to get ProSymmetry Consulting off the ground, Sean applied marketing strategies he learned in class. "These were not nebulous concepts but lessons I could use immediately, like the concept of using funnel logic to identify and size markets."

Decision Models and New Venture Initiation offered strategies that would help him address his clients' business challenges. "In my company we're building systems to help clients improve the processes by which decisions are made, particularly given constraints such as resource availability. At EMTM, I learned how to quantify these decisions under uncertainty using simulation and sensitivity testing."

Sean developed close relationships with classmates through the program's emphasis on teamwork. "Everyone is out in the real world already, so this is not an unduly competitive environment. The focus is on working together and that takes a lot of perceived stress out of the program."

The give-and-take among peers from different industries gave Sean both new perspectives and the ability to communicate with a broad range of clients. "In the program you work side-by-side with people from the defense, telecom, software and biotechnology fields. That allows you to speak to the highest levels of any organization — you'll never be blindsided by any topic or concept, which instantly solidifies your credibility with customers. I can now discuss the value that my company provides to a rank-and-file engineer or an executive making decisions around product development with equal confidence. The EMTM experience has been tremendous."