With a goal of making himself stand out professionally, Don Herzog, EMBA ’16, enrolled in the UB School of Management’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program – giving him the knowledge and experience to take on a high-level executive position.
About seven years ago, Herzog unexpectedly found himself searching for a new career path. Although he had a solid background in military leadership in conjunction with mid-level operations management in the corporate world, he felt like he needed to stand out more if he wanted to break into the next level of leadership.
“My job hunt lasted longer than I ever anticipated,” he says. “That only magnified what my self-assessment was telling me: I needed additional tools, assets and experience.”
After interviewing for various leadership positions, one stood out to him and further pushed him to pursue opportunities that would increase his knowledge in business and management.
“I interviewed at Life Storage, which, at that time, was called Uncle Bob’s Storage,” Herzog says. “During the interview, the chief operating officer of the company said, 'Don, I like you — I really like you — but you are a bit green for this role right now. Go out and get more experience and come back to us.'”
Using that as motivation, Herzog took on the position of co-director for the sponsored projects services in the University at Buffalo, where he participated in a number of various senior leadership opportunities. While there, he also completed the Executive MBA program, which he said exceeded all of his expectations.
“UB’s EMBA program was exactly what I needed to transform myself professionally and personally,” he says.
Shortly after completing the program in 2016, he was on pace for a more senior-level position at the university. Coincidently, Life Storage was expanding rapidly throughout the United States and was in need of an additional regional vice president of operations. Herzog saw the opportunity to be part of a company with a strong reputation for success, growth and positive culture, and applied.
Now with more experience and having completed the Executive MBA program, he was ready to impress the same COO who interviewed him previously.
The COO told him, “Don, I remember you from four years ago, and I suggested that you to go out and get more experience under your belt. Well, you did it, and particularly, you went and earned the EMBA degree from UB, something that is very well respected around here.”
Fast-forward two years and Herzog is thriving at Life Storage. After successfully helping build and expand the company as a regional vice president, Herzog achieved his goal of becoming a corporate leader and was recently promoted to vice president of Life Storage’s joint venture and third party management operations division, known as Life Storage Solutions.
“It is truly motivating to go to work every day, and the Executive MBA program was a concrete and vital ingredient in making this possible.”