We had the opportunity to interview Barry Gray, Senior Vice President of EJM Investments and 30-year Corporate National Accounts Manager for Anheuser Busch. In this interview, Barry shares tips on business and management lessons, while also offering important pointers about what to look for in a business school or Management program. Here’s what he had to say:
“What is the number one thing you should look for in a college business program?”
Barry: Before you enroll into a business program, ask yourself, “What do I want to go into and what is the school known for.” For example, I chose to attend Indiana University because I wanted to get into sales and management, which they are well-known for. Do your research ahead of time so you don’t get stuck attending a school that does not offer the degree (and career) specialization you ultimately want.
“Would you suggest advancing your education by obtaining an MBA?
Barry: Look for the cost/benefit of getting your master’s degree in Business, or MBA. Factors like your current income, employer tuition reimbursement, and your available free time should all be factors in your consideration set. Also, don’t just pursue an MBA for the title. Think about how this advanced degree can improve your employment potential in the future. If the stars align, then go for it!
“What characteristic did your favorite manager have? Was this something that is learned in school?”
Barry: My favorite manager cared about me in a work setting and also on a personal level. No, this is not something that is taught in school. It is a learned and often times natural trait people possess.
Good managers too also are leaders and not dictators. Good leaders give vision and offer guidance, rather than micromanaging their employees.
“How did you decide on what type of specialization in business you wanted to pursue?”
Barry: You have to lead with your strengths. Pursue a career that you naturally excel in. For example, I was good at making and maintaining relationships. With that in mind, I was very successful in my career in sales and retail management because in that type of business specialization is all about communication, personal relationships, follow-up, building trust, and above else, FUN!