Michael Digafe graduated from the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School’s Global MBA program in 2014, specializing in marketing and entrepreneurship.
Immediately following graduation, Digafe joined IBM as a client executive in Washington, D.C.
What type of work have you been doing since graduating from the GMBA program?
I accepted an offer to join IBM’s Summit Program and become a client executive with IBM prior to graduating. The development program is set up with a six-month timeline that covers consulting, sales, relationship building, and pipeline management with the goal of developing professional and consultative selling skills.
Upon finishing the Summit program, my role is to provide a single point of contact to all of IBM's sales and technical resources for my clients. I lead the strategy and development of the overall account plan and I have primary responsibility for identifying opportunities and developing client-valued solutions involving multiple IBM products. To do this requires a complete understanding of the client's organization and culture. This allows me to maintain a thorough understanding of the client's industry, including trends, financial measurements and performance indicators, business processes, and key client competitors to provide value to the client.
In your new role with IBM, you've already worked on a project with current Carey students. What did the project involve?
IBM has an initiative targeted toward education and I thought this was an opportunity to contribute back to the Carey Business School. IBM Bluemix is a cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS) that allows app developers to rapidly build and deploy their apps in a simple intuitive way. To promote Bluemix, IBM traditionally hosts hackathons across the country for companies and colleges, but I thought it would be a unique experience to aim an event towards high school kids. Application development is increasingly being taught at forward-thinking high schools and the opportunity to offer this to Baltimore students was exciting, so I connected with clubs that I participated in at the Carey School to see if they wanted to partner on an event with IBM and Baltimore City Schools. On November 22, we hosted our hackathon at Carey.
I had a great experience at Carey. I made a lot of friends and established a lot of relationships while I was there. When the opportunity came up to contribute back to the community I thought it would be a great chance for the Carey School to host an event and to help Baltimore City school kids. At the same time, it helps IBM promote one of its fastest growing products.
Do you have any advice for current students or prospective students who are considering an MBA?
The best advice I ever received in school was to take advantage of the fact that you are a student. While this sounds simple enough, not enough students take advantage of the opportunities available to them from a personal learning and networking perspective. Be creative. Take advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as you can and to learn from others. Build your network and learn from others’ experiences.
I think it is important to explore careers while in school and use the time to understand where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Don’t limit yourself to one area of study or one industry. Try to find out what makes you happy and what fits your skillset. You get few chances in life to immerse yourself in personal learning without worrying about your career, so use the time wisely.