Michael Sztanski

Credentials: Oracle

Position title: Business Development Manager

Headshot of Michael Sztanski

Major: Political Science

Certificate: Digital Studies

Graduation Date: December 2016

How did you end up working at Oracle?

I moved to San Francisco, CA right after graduating from UW to work at Yelp, Inc. I spent half of that first year after graduating studying for the LSAT because I thought I wanted to go to Law School. What excited me about potentially becoming a lawyer was learning to be persuasive, communicating effectively, and driving results. However, I ended up walking out of the exam in the Educational Sciences Building and canceling my score.

Flash forward, I started as an entry-level sales representative, moved into a closing role, and now have been managing sales teams over the last couple of years. Sales came naturally to me and I had incredible mentors who invested in me during times when I didn’t necessarily see my potential. I was patient with my career and understood that everything would work out the way it was supposed to.

What does a typical day in the office look like for you?

At Oracle | NetSuite, I support our Business Development Organization in managing, coaching, and developing entry-level sales representatives. My role consists of leading a team of Business Development Representatives (BDRs) who are tasked to prospect and qualify potential clients who would benefit from a partnership with NetSuite. I am responsible for driving performance, ensuring accountability, and facilitating career growth to set my team up to become strong sales professionals.

A typical day starts with a team huddle to set clear expectations for the day and an actionable plan to execute our goals. Throughout the day I lead my team in prospecting and meeting with new clients and advise the team on how to pitch to and strategize with businesses (including coaching the BDRs through mock presentations). At the end of the day, we all sync up to discuss our daily wins and performance and to celebrate the successes of our teammates.

I’m really passionate about mentorship, which is what makes my role so rewarding. Oftentimes, I’m the first manager an individual will experience in a professional setting and it’s exciting to watch their personal and professional growth. For a lot of the BDRs, it is their very first job, and it is exciting to watch them grow and start to envision what a career in sales would look like.

How has Digital Studies influenced your career path?

The Digital Studies Certificate taught me skills of collaboration and working within a team. Many of the courses required us to critically think through projects, actively listen to our peers, and understand how to deliver a project/presentation in an effective way. These are all skills that I continue to use even to this day.

Having an understanding of digital media plays a critical role in my day-to-day when I need to think of creative ways to utilize social media to find potential prospects and communicate our value-proposition to make an impact on their business.

Did you have a favorite Digital Studies class or professor when you were a student?

Communication Arts 345: Online Communication & Personal Relationships. This course helped me understand the power of communication and building strong relationships, which has enabled me to be the best version of myself for my team and leaders I work with.

Do you have any advice for current students?

Easier said than done, but live in the moment. My time at UW was some of the most memorable, fun, and impactful moments of my entire life. My advice would be to be patient with your career, reflect on how far you’ve come, and put things into perspective so you can identify moments of growth. Your career is all about the journey, not the destination, so believe that everything will work out as long as you approach everyday with a growth mindset. Have goals and aspirations, but don’t be too rigid in your plans for after graduation because you might miss out on incredible opportunities that could change the direction of your career.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career thus far?

I’m most proud of my ability to make an immediate impact at every company/role that I’ve been in. It’s built a lot of confidence knowing that I can replicate the success I experienced early on in my career and apply those same learnings to what I’m currently working on. A career in sales is all about consistency so I’m most proud that I’ve been able to learn something unique and built successful teams at every turn in my career. Leadership is a privilege and it’s really rewarding to build trust amongst my peers and organization to be the obvious choice when new projects or opportunities present themselves.