Business owner and matriculated student at Brandeis GPS uses knowledge from Master’s program to grow his business and help achieve long-term professional goals.
Theo Groh is a matriculated student in the Brandeis Graduate Professional Studies (GPS) Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Design. Theo was hesitant to go back to school while working full-time growing his business, Wheelhouse Web – a web, communications, and marketing solutions company based in New Hampshire. Theo is three classes into his degree, and is already seeing GPS help with his long-term professional goals:
- To build his new company into a thriving and financially stable company that can provide full time employment, benefits, and a growing return to himself and his business partners.
- To develop his marketing skills to truly have his company be a one stop shop for digital marketing.
- To grow his company to the point that allows them to take only the clients they absolutely want to take and allows them to work with clients promoting social or environmental change.
Theo is among many students who are full-time professionals that are looking to enhance their careers with the benefits of a high-quality graduate education in niche fields with the convenience and flexibility of online learning designed for working professionals.
He has already made progress toward his professional goals, and says that, “So far, GPS has helped me expand the range of digital marketing services I offer and boost my confidence in my skill set. I believe it has also helped strengthen my professional resume, which has helped attract and retain clients.”
What first caught Theo’s attention about GPS was that it is completely online, allowing him to work full-time, is practical and relevant to the work he wants to do, and doesn’t require GRE or standardized test scores.
“I really liked that the degree was specifically in Digital Marketing and Design, not just in Marketing or an MBA with a marketing focus,” said Groh. “That was important because if I was going to go back to school, I wanted a degree that was very specific to the field I was in, very relevant to the work I was doing, and could help me in my business by helping certify to clients that I knew what I was doing.”
GPS offers 13 different master’s Programs in professional fields:
- Digital Marketing and Design
- Digital Innovation for FinTech
- Health and Medical Informatics
- Information Security Leadership
- Instructional Design and Technology
- Project and Program Management
- Robotic Software Engineering
- Software Engineering
- Strategic Analytics
- Technology Management
- User-Centered Design
- Learning Analytics
Theo says, “I think what I value the most about GPS is that I am in a class full of working professionals in my field being taught by an expert working professional in my field.”
GPS instructors are industry leaders who also work full-time outside of GPS, bringing real-world experiences and knowledge to their classrooms. And because class sizes are capped at 20 for GPS classes, students like Theo can network within their classes to build connections within their fields.
Before founding his new company in July 2017, Theo worked in New Hampshire politics, independent school admissions, outreach, and marketing. His education at Brandeis GPS has also enriched his political volunteer commitments and outside hobbies. Since starting his most recent class, Writing for Digital Environments, Theo has taken on a long-term personal goal of online food writing, committing to do a monthly blog post on local New Hampshire food and drinks for Stay-Work-Play New Hampshire.
Theo’s experiences in politics, which may seem unrelated to Digital Marketing and Design, informed his work ethic and gave him experiences that help him bring diverse experience to his business and his classes. He says of his time working in politics,
“During that time, I was working 14-18-hour days 7 days a week for months on end during campaign season… I learned that I had it in me to do that kind of work. Like doing endurance training, my experience working in politics showed me what I was made of and taught me what my capabilities and limits were. If I could work long hours in an extremely high-pressure environment for low pay in politics, often for challenging bosses, I knew I was capable of working hard and succeeding in almost any environment. It taught me not to be afraid of hard work and gave me the confidence I needed to start my own business.”
Theo’s business “aims to be the trusted web design and digital marketing choice of dynamic small businesses, striving non-profits, and thriving schools.”
In order to help him reach his goals and the goals of his company, his MS in Digital Marketing and Design at GPS offers the following program outcomes:
- Build and actively manage digital marketing campaigns across social media, website and mobile platforms.
- Have a comprehensive working knowledge of digital and social media platforms.
- Write appropriate content for online and digital audiences.
- Develop thorough digital marketing campaigns that integrate multiple channels.
- Track results of digital advertising through analytics tools and use the data to inform future marketing decisions.
- Use advanced media tools to enhance digital strategies.
- Communicate the value of digital marketing as it relates to an organization’s overall marketing strategy.
Theo has found that his class assignments help his real-world experiences in business, and says, “I really love the assignments where we have to pick existing companies and talk about how they do on a particular aspect of marketing. I think it’s a great way to learn, and it helps me with my company because a big part of what we do with our small business clients is going in and analyzing what they are currently doing for digital marketing and providing them with advice and services to improve their marketing. I also like the assignment we have in [Writing for Digital Environments] of picking an organization or business that needs help with their marketing. I think it’s a great challenge, something I love to do in my business, and this assignment is helping me think about the best ways of doing that.”
Not only have his GPS classes enhanced his professional life already, but Theo’s professional experiences have enhanced his learning. In his GPS classes, he engages in discussions with professionals at varying levels of their careers in the Digital Marketing and Design field, allowing for rich learning from instructors and peers.
Content contributed by Digital Marketing and Design student Lily Gardner with permission.
Faces of GPS is an occasional series that profiles Brandeis University Graduate Professional Studies students, faculty and staff. Find more Faces of GPS stories here.