Before enrolling, he worked at the crux of marketing and technology – a space being given a digital transformation by data analytics techniques and new software platforms.
One of his early career positions was as a consultant at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a travel management company that operates in 157 countries and has 22,000 employees.
After being promoted to global product manager, a role he carried out for two years, he moved to Reeher LLC, a computer software company based in Minnesota in the US, where he spent two years working as a marketing manager.
After transitioning to the role of product marketing manager, he moved to Denmark with his wife and began The Copenhagen MBA in September last year.
Phil says that he values the business school’s focus on leadership, and its entrepreneurship track. When he graduates he wants to work in the biotechnology or the medical technology sectors.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA?
Last summer I was at a crossroads. I was ready for my next challenge, but found that in the US market, the jobs that I felt were “the next level” usually required, or strongly favoured, an MBA [degree].
I had long considered doing the schooling, but was unsure as to whether to commit two years of my professional life. The debate was decided when my wife was offered a promotion. The major decision for us to move to Copenhagen contributed to the “no better time than now” attitude to participate in the MBA.
What was even better was that it would take one year to complete, and hopefully position me as a more attractive hire in the Danish [jobs] market.
What made Copenhagen Business School an attractive prospect?
Over and above the circumstance and benefits of the one-year, accelerated program, I found the program’s emphasis on leadership and entrepreneurship
to be themes that I could identify with.
I think it’s safe to say that most [people] who pursue an MBA have aspirations to be leaders at some point in their careers, but taking this time away from a set of corporate values has been a unique experience.
Similarly, the focus on an entrepreneurial approach to starting, leading, or working within a company has extended beyond the classical views of entrepreneurship. It is really something that can be applied to your everyday work life and how you look at business problems.
How would you describe the learning culture on The Copenhagen MBA?
There is a wild diversity of perspectives. Hearing, considering and discussing these perspectives is key to the learning culture of our class. Of the 37 students, there are 18 countries represented, and I find that understated when I look at my Canadian peers who come from three completely separate regions of Canada, or my Indian peers who come from separate regions of their country.
Not only is there geographical and cultural diversity, but we’ve got an incredible variety of professional backgrounds represented – a doctor, a teacher, a couple of lawyers, and a few other non-business backgrounds, which add new perspectives.
The learning culture for our specific class has been characterized as collaborative. With the level of commitment inherent in rearranging your life for this one year, there is a general sense that “we are all in it together”, and we sincerely strive for the success and growth of all of our classmates.
What's it like living, studying and potentially working in the city of Copenhagen?
Distracting, maybe? At least for studies, that is. But joking aside, there is a remarkable spirit to Copenhagen.
When I look back on my time in Copenhagen, I will likely remember how accessible the city is. There’s a high probability that there’s a grocery store with quality goods within two-to-three blocks of where you live, and you can basically get anywhere by bike within 20 minutes.
While many might criticize the high cost-of-living, the quality of life that accompanies [it], with the free museums and manicured parks, makes the city accessible in that sense too.
I am also really looking forward to working in the Danish culture. While every firm is slightly different, my wife’s experience has been a testament to the business benefits of a flatter hierarchy, cultures of trust and respect, and reasonable work-life balance.
What are your future career plans, both in terms of sector and function, and geographic location?
I’d like to use my MBA to get into the medtech or biotech industries that are so strong here in Denmark. I think there is something to be said for providing products that improve [the] quality of life for customers in need, and growing a business responsibly at the same time.
Most of these companies are dealing in a competitive space, and continue to push new levels of innovation, in turn providing better products and programs to change people’s everyday lives.
The people I know who are working in the medtech and biotech industries are also extremely passionate – from the value their companies are adding to their customers’ lives, down to what their personal role is within the company.
Part of the advantage of the MBA is that it can help you cross bridges to places you were previously not allowed [to go], or at least didn’t have the right passport to enter.
You come from a marketing background at a software services company. What impact has technology had on marketing as a function in your career?
Marketing and consumer insights have become closer, thanks to technology. The modern customer wants information the way they want it, and they want it right now.
This means marketers need to be comfortable with using data and technology to complete their marketing mission.
Much of this has to do with the massive amount of marketing data that can be tracked by using technology. If there’s a target you want to reach, the boom of marketing technology products means that there probably is a service or platform out there that can help you hit it.
[But] you also have to understand what costs those solutions require, as there may be a cheaper or simpler way to get the job done.