James Winborne III was drawn to the marketing field because the work requires both creativity and logic. But he soon found he needed more to stand out in his career.
“I realized quickly that everyone had a bachelor’s degree,” he says. “My goal was to understand business to the fullest extent and be able to use that education in boardrooms with those whose titles were larger than mine.”
With eight years under his belt in digital marketing, social media, and content strategy he was ready for his next challenge.
He began his MBA program online at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette right as he and his wife were preparing for the birth of their son.
That confluence of life events — working full-time, first-time fatherhood, graduate school — was not easy, but Winborne was determined.
Stepping up with a strategy
Winborne holds himself to high standards, but he realized he wouldn’t be able to give 100% to everything all the time.
As he started classes, a friend challenged him: "You got a lot going on. One is going to have to suffer. You’re going to have to make the decision on what will suffer.”
With this in mind, Winborne decided what he could and could not accept from himself at work, in class, and at home.
No matter what, Winborne said "I was never going to allow my child to suffer from not having time with me. And that's how I approached it.”
Time management was key.
“I would set aside time for myself, just to be locked in a room probably for two hours an evening if I could,” he says. “Most times I would watch the videos first and then attack the readings.”
Winborne's family also inspired and motivated him to keep working when he felt worn thin.
"I would look at them late at night when I'm up at 2 a.m. doing work and they're sleeping," he says, "and I'm thinking to myself 'You're literally doing this for them. This is not just for you, but if you don't finish this or get this correct, you're letting them down, too.'"
Keeping his tendency for perfectionism in check helped Winborne manage his work-life expectations. Since then, he's been able to impart the wisdom he received on others.
"A couple friends of mine decided to go back to get their MBAs, and I just told them the same thing my friend had told me," he says. “You have to put your focus on one thing in order to be great at it, if not, it's all going to suffer."
When the work pays off
Winborne opted for the MBA with a concentration in Business Administration anticipating the scope of business knowledge in the curriculum would keep him versatile as a job candidate.
“I wanted to have a wide range of knowledge,” he says. “I didn’t want to be pigeon-holed. Sometimes in the workforce, people hear you know one thing, and that’s the only thing they allow you to work on.”
Winborne was able to begin applying his coursework almost immediately. In particular MKTG 524 - Marketing Management with Dr. Todd Johnson, which gave Winborne the tools to become more engaged at work.
“He was fantastic,” says Winborne. “He gave us materials that truly would help me in my everyday role and throughout marketing in general.”
Dr. Johnson directed his students to look at the PESTEL analysis, a market research method, which Winborne had heard about in business meetings before but had not worked with directly.
After Johnson’s class, Winborne had greater confidence, as well as a new competency.
“I was able to go into the meetings and speak on different things that these executives who I reported to were discussing,” he says. “And so, I was able to contribute to conversations about these things in order for us to make business decisions.”
Meeting, exceeding KPIs
Winborne is now a round decade into his marketing career with his MBA in hand. His key performance indicators look good.
After taking on three job titles in four years with his previous team, Winborne accepted a management role earlier this year as eCommerce Content Strategy Lead for Stanley, Black & Decker.
“I've shown that I can focus on something, complete it, and master a project, a tool, or a task that needs to be mastered," says Winborne.
His next 10-year goal? The C-suite.
Earn an MBA that helps you stand out as the competent, confident decision-maker you are. Request information about UL Lafayette's MBA program online today.