Building a Successful Career

The definition of a ‘successful’ career takes on different meanings for different individuals, all based on personal experience. Woven throughout the NIU MBA program are energizing discussions around ‘what is success’, ‘how do we achieve success’, and ‘how to define our personal success’. Our team decided to take this conversation further and reach out to Andrew Bennington, Sr. Manager of Analytics at Epsilon Agency in Minneapolis. Specifically, we asked him to share any personal advice and keys to success. He was eager to share his thoughts using his industry and passion for his work as an example.

Stay current.

“Analytics is an ever-changing industry, and there are plenty of competent minds.” shared Bennington. “The key is to continuously increase education, take classes, remain up-to-date on new technology, and always be on the lookout for new opportunities.” Bennington is definitely someone that walks-the-talk. In addition to completing his PhD, he is slated to take machine learning classes at St. Thomas in the spring. He reiterates, “It is important to constantly add to your skillset.”

Differentiate yourself.

If you want to make it in this field then differentiation is key, Andrew pointed out, “Find something you personally care about.” Having a personal connection to something and making sure you are proficient in it can be a key differentiator. For him, that’s Predictive Modeling and he has used that knowledge and passion to create a niche for himself. Now, individuals in his company come to him whenever they need information or advice in this area and that has allowed him to become the subject matter expert.

Know your value….and take credit

The biggest mistake people make in branding themselves is a hesitance to take credit…something he has witnessed personally. “There is a tendency to make things seem like they were a team effort, even if only one person was involved,” he stressed.  “It’s important to be a team player but it is equally pivotal not to undersell yourself or undervalue your contributions.” All fields are filled with intelligent people so having strong communication skills is important for your success and will set you apart as a manager.

In the end, Bennington said that keeping all these things in mind, along with the benefits of an MBA, will help to push a career forward.

Article written by Class of 2019 NIU Chicago MBA students: Jean Jean-Pierre, Catarina Maiolo, and Quazi Rahman.

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