Alumni Spotlight: Michael Noblitt, MBA ‘07

Michael Noblitt, MBA '07

Michael Noblitt graduated from TCU’s MBA program over 10 years ago and has since enjoyed a rewarding career at Distribion/Belo + Company. During that time, several facets of his MBA experience have proven instrumental to his success.

According to Michael, the first challenge he encountered at Distribion—a software as a service (SaaS) company that offers multi-channel marketing automation to large brands—was to “remaster our product development process. I used the product management skills I learned through my MBA along with my technical background to create demonstrable improvements in this area.” As Michael notes, that was in 2012—a long time ago in terms of digital technology. But those revisions to Distribion’s product development process continue to pay dividends.

He explains that “as our organization grew, I became more involved in decisions that demanded expert knowledge of accounting and finance principles that I would not have been able to utilize prior to earning my MBA.” More recently, Michael has helped lead an initiative to merge Distribion, as well as six other companies, into Belo + Company, a full-service digital marketing agency. His MBA experience at TCU helped Michael navigate the organizational challenges created by the merger, as did a case study he performed during his time in the TCU MBA program. In fact, he drew from that case study to design and implement Belo and Company’s unique pod structure.

Why an MBA?

Michael was introduced to the tech sector during the dot-com boom and had the opportunity to start his career while pursuing his computer science degree. Although the economy was thriving, Michael realized early on that the industry suffered from a talent gap few knew how to bridge. “Companies were created and destroyed by technical savants lacking business skills,” he explains, “or savvy entrepreneurs who knew how to build an organization from the ground up but were unable to keep up with the rapid pace of technological evolution.”

Around this same time, Michael found himself in a unique position. He was asked to manage the rollout of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) application. This required him, as he says, “to quickly come up to speed on basics of accounting, manufacturing and sales processes.” Michael loved the experience and realized that he was as passionate about business as he was about technological innovation. That was all the inspiration he needed to pursue his MBA.

Why TCU?

Michael dedicated almost a full calendar year to researching local MBA programs. At TCU, he was given the opportunity to sit in on classes, tour the campus and meet with professors. He tells us that Neeley came out far ahead of other business schools, and on multiple fronts.

  • The curriculum was more connected to the current business landscape and, in his words, featured “fresh course material” that applied traditional business practices to today’s business challenges in state-of-the-art fashion. It was also very balanced — enough to provide Michael with a broad exposure to areas of business with which he was less familiar.
  • The program was flexible yet challenging, enabling him to successfully balance his education with his career growth and family obligations.
  • Michael was able to meet other prospective members of his cohort. They connected instantly over shared interests, ambitions and responsibilities.
  • The expansive network that TCU provided brought him closer to both local businesses and talent.

Invaluable Experiences Gained at TCU

Of all his TCU MBA experiences, three in particular still stand out for Michael. First, he was able to participate in several innovation and entrepreneurship roundtables with key business leaders in the DFW area. Secondly, he enrolled in multiple product and program management courses. These courses were especially impactful, Michael says, acknowledging that “the original driver behind obtaining my MBA was to find the balance between the art and science of managing innovation.”

Finally, near the end of his two years at Neeley, Michael and several of his classmates ran a weekend-long business simulation. As part of this experience, Michael recalls that the group “broke up into teams, created businesses and products and competed against each other in a simulated market environment where every few hours we lived through a full quarter. We had to make sales, marketing, finance, operations, supply chain and technology decisions based on the data the landscape provided through P&Ls, competitive landscape and customer demand.” This was the “aha” moment for him. Everything clicked and, as Michael says, he was “finally able to see how all we had learned worked in action.”

The Career Impact of an MBA

Michael moved into an executive management role within just a few years of receiving his MBA. He affirms that earning his MBA is the best investment he could have made in himself. Elaborating further, he says that he feels as if he “gained ten-plus years of experience in only a few. Complex business issues that I would have had to previously solve via trial and error quickly became routine within the frameworks and with the skills I obtained through the program.”

Michael recommends that other professionals in his industry pursue an MBA to achieve the 360-degree perspective necessary for success in today’s always-evolving global economy. “Businesses are like living, breathing organisms with a series of interconnected systems that all work in harmony to thrive,” he observes. “An MBA provides professionals with the understanding of not only how each system works, but also how they are connected. This knowledge will lead to limitless growth opportunities.”

Michael’s advice for prospective TCU MBA students? “Keep your notes, case studies and study materials. You will find the opportunity to use them when you least expect it!” He also advises students not to be intimidated by the challenge. “You will quickly realize once you start the program that the momentum you build over the first few months will make you hungry for more.”

Interested in learning more about the TCU’s MBA experience? Visit the Neeley School of Business website today for information about all of our program offerings

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