Playing hardball

April 2017

Management alumnus swings for the fences at MLB Advanced Media.

Bob Thomas, MBA ’00, was working in information technology (IT) sales at Ingram Micro in Buffalo when he decided he wanted to take his career to the next level. So, he came to the UB School of Management and earned an MBA with a concentration in management information systems (MIS).

The degree was a springboard for his success in the field.  After graduation, he was recruited by IBM in Poughkeepsie, where he spent five years working in programming and system and application administration, before becoming an IT architect for data center moves in the U.S., Canada and Switzerland.

“My degree was invaluable in this role,” says Thomas. “It trained me to see and speak the language of both technologists and business leaders. We have to be very agile in our approach since each organization and stakeholder has their own standards and point of view.”

Thomas moved from IBM to outsourcing at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), where he sold IT services to U.S. military and intelligence organizations in the Washington, D.C. area. Thomas says that after his time at HPE, he wanted an opportunity to be more hands-on and return to the “buy side” of IT.

That goal led him to Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), in Manhattan, the digital technology arm of America’s national pastime. MLBAM powers internet streaming of MLB and NHL games, shows on HBO Now and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) matches, to name a few. The company even develops video games, in the form of the “R.B.I. Baseball” series for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Thomas scuba diving.

At MLBAM, Thomas serves as enterprise architect, a senior position that melds business and technology, building infrastructure for the company and the MLB Commissioner’s Office.

“I like that I work for an organization that has a long tradition of being a family-friendly pastime,” says Thomas. “And while it’s had its challenges, I’m glad I can work gainfully for an organization that is genuinely trying to do good things, at the forefront of innovation.”

Looking back on his career, Thomas says students entering the field should think of IT as a marathon.

“Don’t burn out thinking you’ve got it all figured out today,” says Thomas. “It’s unlikely the leader today will win the race — if there is such a thing. Take care of your career and make sure you’re making strides forward.”

When he needs to get away from his computer screens, Thomas heads underwater to scuba dive in caves and shipwrecks.

“It’s an excellent mix of science, mechanics, athleticism and tai chi — a great fit for my analytic mind.”

Written by Kevin Manne