MBA@UNC Graduate: Jamie DeMaria
With a bachelor’s degree from Notre Dame, a master’s degree and a doctorate in neuroscience from Florida State University, Jamie DeMaria brought to MBA@UNC an impressive scientific mind, but very little formal business training. “In fact,” he says, “Prior to starting the program, the only class I had taken that had anything to do with business was a high school accounting class.” In 13 years DeMaria had cultivated a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, mostly in medical affairs and marketing. Over time, he watched his job responsibilities shift from being scientific and clinical to more management focused. “I realized that if I wanted to continue moving up the chain to successfully lead and manage, I would need to learn more about how companies function and operate financially,” he says. “I was looking for an MBA a program that had the right fit. There were a couple of programs out there that had the right mix, but I wanted diversity,” he says. “I didn’t want to attend a program that was tailored exclusively to my industry.”
“MBA@UNC attracted me because it was a top-20 school, known for its leadership and strategy. When it launched, I knew it was right. In fact, I think I might have been the first person who applied!”
One of DeMaria’s favorite aspects of the program was the synchronous class sessions.
“I really enjoyed the weekly interactions with my professors and classmates,” he says. “While the conversations were often serious, we also had a lot of fun. There were a lot of laughs.”
DeMaria never questioned the quality of the program or the technology platform. However, one thing he didn’t anticipate was the personal relationships he developed with his classmates. “I can honestly say I will miss them,” he says. “These are people I’ve spent a fair amount of time with over the past two years. Through it all, we’ve joked, shared, stressed and even commiserated together. They are people I will consider friends forever.”
When asked what advice he would offer someone considering the program he says, “Don’t mistake ‘flexible’ for being easy. It’s geographically flexible, not academically. It’s a rigorous program and sometimes I think that gets lost.”
And, just because MBA@UNC is offered online, “Don’t think that it’s not personal. MBA@UNC does a great job of capturing the live, human interaction of learning — even online. UNC Kenan-Flagler is changing the conception of what it means to earn an online degree.”