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Forging New Paths With Poole College’s Master of Management, Marketing Analytics Program

When Dana Eyer entered the Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) program, she had her future all mapped out. With five years of experience in sports and athletics already on her resume, she planned to transition to an athletic team’s business office, make her way into an analytics role and then climb her way up the sports industry ladder.

Several months into the MMA program, however, the idea of a lifelong career in the sports industry had lost its luster – and Eyer began exploring other career paths. 

“I wanted to build a career in the sports industry for so long, but I eventually got to a point where I realized it would make it difficult for me to have a family down the road or have an active social life. So I did a complete 180 – and at this point, I just want sports to be my hobby,” she explains. “You know how people talk about one door closing and another one opening? For me, it was more like, ‘I didn’t realize half these doors existed.’ Being in the MMA program opened my eyes to all these different career opportunities and showed me what it takes to knock on those doors.”

Jumping into the MMA program in 2022, Eyer had the privilege of joining the program’s first cohort. She had first expressed interest in the Jenkins MBA, so when Poole College of Management began developing the MMA program, Allison Anthony reached out to Eyer with information and encouraged her to apply.

“Looking at the curriculum, it seemed like a great fit, so I decided to go for it,” Eyer explains. “It’s been really cool to be part of the first cohort. I think we feel a special pride in it because we’re helping build the program from the ground up.”

Compared to traditional MBA programs, the MMA program is concentrated on topics Eyer particularly enjoys – like management and marketing – and allows her to develop in-demand skills to stand out in the marketplace. 

“While the MBA curriculum looked great, I knew I’d be perfectly okay if I never took another financial accounting or economics course again. That’s just not where my interests lie,” she laughs. “Though the data analytics part was foreign to me, I knew it was an up-and-coming field and that developing those skills would be really strategic.”

In addition to developing these skills in the MMA program, Eyer has also had the opportunity to apply them as a commercial account coordinator with Harrison Fence – a role she took after realizing sports was no longer in her future. Working on the commercial side of the company and overseeing projects with builders, large HOA properties and townhome units, Eyer is regularly exposed to large amounts of data – which allows her to apply the concepts she’s learning in the classroom to her role in real-time.

Beyond the course curriculum, Eyer has found a lot of other things to appreciate about the MMA program. The flexibility, for one, has exceeded her expectations. But it’s the people, she says, that top the list.

“Being an online program with asynchronous courses, I was a little worried that I’d feel somewhat distant and removed. But the professors always check in on you and make sure that you don’t feel like you’re just a number in the class. They’re not just good program faculty – they’re good, quality people,” she explains. “Because data analytics was such a new concept for me, I needed extra help in that area, and they’ve gone above and beyond to help me play catch-up. And they’ve been supportive in my personal life, too. I’ve had a lot of personal things come up in the last year, and everyone has been so understanding.”

And that’s not just true of the MMA staff and faculty – but her peers as well.

“Everyone in the cohort has been super helpful and eager to support one another. It’s been so cool to see a combination of people from all different ages and occupations coming together for a common goal,” she says. “And I’m lucky to live in Raleigh, because I also have the opportunity to take some classes on campus. So, it’s great to be able to do classes online on my schedule, but also have that opportunity to meet people in-person.”

Along with the help she’s received from faculty and the camaraderie she’s felt with her peers, Eyer has found a wealth of support in the Career Management Center (CMC) – especially as a career-changer. 

“The world of data analytics and marketing is still relatively new to me, but the CMC has been really helpful as I network and learn about different job opportunities. They’ve helped me narrow my search and understand what to expect, what steps to take as a career-changer and how to set myself apart from other job applicants. They’ve been rock stars at helping me navigate what’s to come,” she says.

In the same way that others have invested in her, Eyer has made herself available as a resource to prospective students as an MMA program student ambassador.

“The program staff reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in helping start the program and serving as a resource for others. It’s probably because I talk so much,” she laughs. “But it’s been really great to help build this. We sit in on interest meetings with prospective students to share about our experiences in the program. Prospective students have also reached out to me separately to ask questions, and as a people person, I love being able to share the student perspective with them. In the future, we’d love to turn this program into an opportunity for mentorship as well, where students who are farther along can mentor students who are newer to the program.”

And that passion for people, she says, is something she hopes to leverage wherever her career takes her.

“Whether I head into business analytics or consulting at a financial tech company or take care of clients and address their questions as a consumer success manager, I want to combine my marketing, management, data and people skills to help a company succeed,” she says. “As a career-changer, it’s exciting to be able to look to the future and be excited, not daunted, about it.”

To learn more about the Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) program at NC State’s Poole College of Management, click here.