James, who completed his Executive MBA degree in 2010, manages two startup businesses. At 2020 Commercial, he provides commercial real estate sales, leasing and development services. At Mango Farms Digital Marketing, he and his staff provide web and mobile application development and manage digital marketing for clients. At these companies, James manages all aspects of the business including hiring, training, business development, sales, marketing, finance and customer service.
How has your degree impacted your career?
My education prepared me well to manage all aspects of running a business, including creating strategies, execution and constant evaluation of business performance. The knowledge and tools gained through the coursework and interactions with faculty prepares you to undertake this challenge. The networking, communications skills and interpersonal skills students gain from the program have also helped me tremendously in connecting with others.
What do you enjoy about your current position/profession?
Being an entrepreneur is very demanding, but you are driven by the excitement of creating new possibilities for you, your family and your business.
How do you see your profession changing in the next five or 10 years?
The commercial real estate industry will be transformed as more and more brokers adopt new technology and use analytics to serve their customers better. Traditional marketing will be replaced by social media and other digital marketing. Property tours will become a thing of the past and will be replaced by virtual tours and augmented reality.
What unexpected experience or event has shaped and/or influenced your current professional life?
Getting up one morning and deciding to start a business has changed the course of my life.
What characteristics do you look for when hiring people into your workplace?
- Integrity: Do what you say you will do.
- Commitment to client’s success.
- Desire to earn a high income and advance your career.
Why did you come to UT Dallas?
UT Dallas has highly esteemed professors. I was also drawn to the weekend class schedule of the Executive MBA program and the executive coaching I received.
What is your favorite UT Dallas memory?
Group meetings and lifelong friendships formed. We took international business trips to Tokyo, Hong Kong and Mexico City. The trips were very educational and fun.
Did a UT Dallas professor inspire you?
Yes, Dr. David Springate (finance professor), Dr. Richard Miller (strategy) and the late Dr. Dick Tozer (entrepreneurship).
Has something about your UT Dallas education surprised you since graduating?
You do not realize the importance of some of the concepts and tools you learn until you have an opportunity to apply them in the real world. For example, I use Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) analysis concepts learned in finance class every day, helping my clients evaluate potential investment properties.
What advice do you have for college students hoping to succeed professionally?
Create your own path and give it all you have. Don’t be afraid to make a change when change is needed. Contribute to others’ success.
What makes an effective leader?
An effective leader is someone who is a great strategist and someone who can execute on those strategies. An effective leader must also genuinely care about the development and success of each person who is entrusted to him.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Traveling, watching movies, fine dining and watching football.