*This news item was written and edited by personnel at the Gus Machado School of Business
Exactly one year has passed since Tony Mamodaly ’15 kicked off his graduate career at Columbia University and joined the New York City-based advertising agency LaPlaca Cohen as part of an internship program. The 25-year old, German-native with roots in Madagascar, has had quite an unusual career path in his young age.
After graduating at the top of his class with his B.A. in Business in only 2 ½ years, the former captain of the men’s soccer team, president of the Entrepreneur Club, and resident assistant recalls, “it was quite challenging to handle the regular coursework and duties as an RA in addition to daily practices and travelling with the soccer team but my professors, coaches and mentors always helped me to coordinate through my demanding schedule and ensured I stayed on track without sacrificing results on the field or in the classroom.”
Knowing he wanted to gain further knowledge of marketing techniques and strategies, Tony decided to continue his education and pursue a master’s degree. “It was always my dream to attend an Ivy-League university but considering the exorbitant costs it was simply not realistic for me to do so, as I come from a very modest background.”
Determined not to give up on his dream, he applied to both Harvard University and Columbia University’s graduate programs. Tony spent months preparing his application and after three interview rounds, his hard work and perseverance paid off, as he was admitted to both Ivy-League universities.
“If three years ago somebody would have told me that one day I would have the chance to choose between Harvard and Columbia, I would have probably called him crazy.” In consideration of New York City being the global financial capital of the world, Tony decided in favor of Columbia University’s so-called Business Practice program, which was limited to 25 students from all over the world only.
The program was comprised of an internship at the advertising agency LaPlaca Cohen in the mornings and marketing strategy classes at the university at nights.
“My time in The City was amazing. I have met incredible people from all over the world. My best friends in class were a banker from Italy who just landed a job on Wall Street, a Japanese financial consultant who is moving to Amsterdam for his new job, and a marketing consultant from Denmark. During our coursework we learned how to apply strategic marketing concepts to 'real-world' relevant situations, such as for instance Blackberry’s positioning dilemma. Furthermore, we had the chance to listen to and meet C-level guest speakers from the NBA or Grey Advertising among others.”
During his internship Tony recounts that in addition to assisting on campaigns for the Metropolitan Museum of Arts and The High Line, his absolute highlight was the experience of joining a sales meeting on the 37th floor of the New York Times Building. “I felt like being in a TV show like Suits or Mad Men,” Tony laughs.
After the intensive program Tony returned to Miami in late 2015, where he is enrolled in the MBA program with a specialization in Global Marketing while working as a graduate assistant at the School of Business simultaneously.
“I am grateful for all the opportunities STU has opened up to me. Although I truly fell in love with New York, I did not have to think twice when I received the chance to pursue my MBA at St. Thomas University. The program is great as it allows me to blend my personal background of growing up between Germany, Madagascar and the US as well as my experience as former professional athlete with the leadership savvy, decision-making and strategic skills required to run a business. My passion for story-telling got me enamored with advertising, branding and marketing as it is a blend of being creative and strategic at the same time. In the long run I would love to work for a multinational firm or brand, where my cross-cultural experience could be of value. Miami is full of opportunities and I am excited to see what’s next.”