16 Mar AMA Member Profile: Meet Don Purdy, Director of the University at Albany’s Executive Weekend MBA Program
AMA: Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Don Purdy and I help people’s career dreams come true in my role as Director of the University at Albany’s executive Weekend MBA Program. I oversee all aspects of the AACSB-accredited program, including recruiting and retaining students, administration, planning the international residency, alumni and community relations, event coordination, catering, and all marketing initiatives.
AMA: What do you enjoy most about your current role?
I find many aspects of my job eminently rewarding. I like meeting people as well as learning about their background and professional goals. Once someone shares this information with me, I can then figure out how I can best help him or her. I enjoy working with our Weekend MBA students over the course of 22 months, seeing them grow and learn, and ultimately attain promotions, obtain new jobs, and earn more lucrative compensation. Being able to travel internationally with our students has been incredible! We immerse ourselves in the business and culture of a foreign country for a week and it truly has been eye opening. I have been to many destinations that I wouldn’t ordinarily have gotten to visit. Lastly, I love marketing and that, along with recruiting, is a big part of my position. I enjoy trying different marketing strategies and tactics and determining what is successful and what is not. An added bonus has been the opportunity to have worked with some amazing marketing partners since I was named to the position in 2008.
AMA: Why is being up-to-date with the latest marketing thinking so important in your current position?
Being in higher education, I am a staunch believer that we never stop learning. Marketing communications has been a passion of mine for the last three decades and it is a critical component to the Weekend MBA Program’s success. Time spent listening to marketing experts, reading thought leaders’ articles and posts, and putting what I learn into practice is very fulfilling for me. Marketing is also a very broad topic that is incredibly dynamic and I look forward to keeping up on the latest trends and best practices.
AMA: What was the best piece of business advice that anyone ever gave you?
I don’t recall any specific person telling me this, but I try to be authentic and to be as personal as possible. Rather than just speak with someone on the phone, sit with them in my office, or direct them to our website, I would much rather meet them for coffee somewhere off campus. It’s more relaxed, less daunting, and logistically much easier for him or her. It more quickly increases their comfort level with me, which leads them to open up about why they are considering graduate education and how they want to leverage it. To me, much of it is about forging relationships.
AMA: How long have you been a member and why did you join the American Marketing Association?
I’ve been a charter member of the New York Capital Region Chapter of the American Marketing Association since 1992. I was Director of Marketing for Marvin & Co. CPAs at the time and was very interested in networking with other marketers and learning about the craft at monthly chapter luncheons. I must say I dived in with both feet, ending up on the board and serving in multiple capacities, including Treasurer, VP of Marketing Consulting, VP of Database Management, VP of Programming, and Board Member at Large.
AMA: How has membership benefited you personally and professionally?
AMA membership has benefited me in many ways. Going back to relationships, I stay in contact with many of the people with whom I served on the board 25 years ago. It’s fun keeping up with them on social media and seeing them at one of the myriad networking events I attend. Coincidentally, two former board members are second-year Weekend MBA cohort members! I had only been in the Capital Region for about four years when I joined, so becoming involved in the chapter helped me strengthen my foothold and build my network. When I was treasurer, I welcomed all event attendees at the registration table, which was a great way to meet people! We also achieved a tremendous level of organizational success. We were one of the highest performing AMA chapters back then and, during my time in programming, we consistently drew more than 100 attendees to our luncheons to hear out-of-town speakers discuss cutting-edge topics. It’s been an extraordinary experience that keeps me coming back for more!
Don Purdy oversees all aspects of the AACSB-accredited School of Business’s Weekend MBA Program, including recruiting and retaining students, administration, planning the international residency, alumni and community relations, event coordination, catering, and all marketing initiatives. Find out about the UAlbany Weekend MBA Program.
Will Trevor is NYCRAMA's VP of Social Media. He has a background in sales and marketing, where his experience spans both agency and client-side positions. Will also worked in a range of industries, from the public sector, to manufacturing and recruitment. Most recently, he has applied his practical experience to the field of education and training, where he teaches in higher education, both in the UK and the USA. Find out more about Will on LinkedIn.