Developing Holistic Leadership
Colin Jacobs believes his best ideas are born outside of the office. An experienced traveler, he’s been inspired by the unique places his career has taken him. Previously working as an investment analyst, he joined 7-Nation—the parent company of a handful of adventure sport product companies—to get hands-on experience growing global business. When Colin was ready to pursue the next phase of his education and further evolve his career, he wanted a program that would go beyond the textbook basics and allow him to jump into real-world challenges.
The Portland MBA program presented Colin with the chance to expand his education and learn more about himself in the process.
“I wanted a program that took a holistic approach to develop leaders — helping them better understand themselves, not just the material,” he says.
Many answers to business challenges can’t be solved with numbers alone and instead require a strong self-identity and willingness to leverage both personal strengths and weaknesses. The Portland MBA program took a well-rounded approach to leadership that he found invaluable.
“There are personal biases inherent in all of us, as well as deep underlying personal motivations,” he says. “The self-understanding I gained through this coursework was incredibly insightful.”
This awareness has helped Colin make more strategic decisions at 7-Nation and set him on a path to his current role as a chief operating officer of the company. The curriculum wove in a range of topics across all fields of business, including finance, communications and human resources, and included projects in the regional business community. Colin says this broad view shaped him into a more confident decision-maker.
“The Portland MBA program taught me how to tackle even the biggest problems in an organized and effective manner, and to also stay self-aware and not get overconfident,” he says.
Colin says his graduate cohort was instrumental in helping him build that important self-awareness. Thanks to a diverse group of fellow students, he was exposed to a wide variety of viewpoints and management styles.
“The program changed the way I look at business and how we can impact our communities,” he says.
Upon graduating, Colin wanted to give back to The School of Business. He launched the MBA Alumni Group to keep graduates connected, support the university and continue lifelong learning.
“I’m certain the program made me a better business leader and I saw the MBA Alumni Group as a way to return the favor,” Colin says.
Colin hopes current business students fully engage with the education experience (both during their program and after), despite busy schedules and multiple priorities. Though graduation can feel far away, it’s worth remembering that the experience will be over far sooner than you think.
“It’s worth the time investment as many of these relationships will continue to grow post-graduation,” he says.