Crummer Executive Doctorate Grad Becomes Highly-Sought Analytics Expert

December 5, 2018 - by Jake Rakoci

Dr. Ash Shoeibi `16DBA is leveraging his Crummer EDBA degree to bring his academia expertise into the C-Suite.

Dr. Ash Shoeibi has made a career becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable.

In the first ten years of his career, he switched roles six different times, and since then, he’s held major leadership positions at NBC Universal, Dell and now at HomeAway, a vacation rental company owned by Expedia.

In retrospect, he didn’t anticipate the constant career movement and the need to continuously adapt to new work environments, but Dr. Shoeibi’s analytics expertise was bound to attract attention from employers.

After his doctorate from Crummer, his LinkedIn inbox started flooding.

“Recruiters were looking me up on LinkedIn and sending me messages unsolicited from all over the U.S.,” said Shoeibi, currently Director of Analytics for HomeAway. “I wasn’t expecting that much demand for my skillset and education but it’s been very rewarding and humbling.”

The digital analytics field is rapidly evolving, but Dr. Shoeibi has found his niche using his Executive Doctorate in Business Administration education from Crummer to apply doctoral-level research methods to practical, real-world applications that have made him one of the most sought-after names in the analytics industry.

The Crummer Advantage

Years ago, Dr. Shoeibi found himself at a bit of a crossroads.

Finishing his undergrad and MBA degrees back-to-back, he felt like he needed more out of his educational experience.

He wanted to get an education where he could directly apply his academic knowledge to his business experience.

“I was looking for another Master’s degree, but I didn’t know where I wanted to end up,” said Dr. Shoeibi. “I just didn’t find a Master’s program that was a good fit.”

That all changed when a Pandora radio commercial caught his attention one day.

“The commercial was about a brand new EDBA program through the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College,” said Dr. Shoeibi. “What I noticed right off the bat, meeting current DBA students and current faculty, was the level of excellence they brought to the table. Just the conversations we had and the real business problems we were facing. I was sold the moment I came into the information session.”

During the EDBA program, Dr. Shoeibi researched the impact of added fees on a consumer’s decision to complete their online purchase or abandon their shopping cart.

It was something he was able to immediately apply to his day-to-day work.

“I ended up being promoted early on in my EDBA program from manager to a senior manager position and was able to switch companies and switch industries,” said Dr. Shoeibi, who evolved from a Sr. Manager of Customer Insights & Analytics in Supply Chain to building a new Analytics team responsible for Sales, Marketing, and Product analytics at NBCUniversal as  Director of Analytics all by the mid-point of the EDBA.

The Crummer EDBA program also helped him acquire leadership skills, something he said he initially struggled with as he started getting promoted.

“I wouldn’t say I was always a leader, prior to starting the Crummer program,” said Shoeibi. “I was learning theory behind leadership and was able to practically apply it the next week I was stepping into work in my new role.”

That’s why Dr. Shoeibi succinctly puts it: “If you just want a degree you can go to any school, but if you want a real education, you go to Crummer.”

Goals of the C-Suite

Dr. Shoeibi admits, sometimes his degree can create a bit of a funny moment when he interacts with C-Level executives at his company.

“They ask me, am I supposed to call you Doctor Shoeibi?”

Dr. Shoeibi says it’s not about the title, but the confidence he has when he does have these interactions is invaluable.

“I’m able to approach C-Level executives and give them practical examples, via specific research. I’m able to apply my strategic thinking to those problems and solve them; it’s something you can’t put a value on,” said Dr. Shoeibi.

He relies on his academic experience to show theories to the executives he is talking to, and then is able to back them up with real analytical data and insights to drive strategic decisions.

Dr. Shoeibi is able to tie theories like the Anchoring and Adjustment straight to business strategies at his current role within HomeAway. While this theory was introduced over 50 years ago, it is more relevant than ever to their business. It explains how consumers will anchor on the first price they’re presented with, and if you change the price, they will always anchor on the initial price to determine value.

“These are all things I’m able to talk to C-level executives about, and I’ve done it at NBCUniversal, Dell and now Expedia (HomeAway), so it’s been very, very rewarding,” said Dr. Shoeibi.

Looking towards the future, Dr. Shoeibi sees a path for himself to make it as a C-Suite executive.

“I’m enjoying my time at Expedia group and HomeAway, but I’m on a trajectory where my skillset and specific areas of expertise in pricing strategy are in high demand in the market and with the field I’m in, analytics, I’m looking to get into the C-level,” said Dr. Shoeibi.

Still, with these big goals ahead of him, Dr. Shoeibi makes sure to continue to help his alma matter as much as he can.

Teaching wasn’t his primary intent for going into the doctoral program, but he has been tapped to teach courses in digital marketing for Crummer because he was so passionate about sharing his knowledge.

He also continually looks to Crummer for support and even hiring potential members for his team.

“I’ve had several Crummer students work for me. I just hired a Crummer graduate to come work for me in Texas,” said Dr. Shoeibi. “It’s been really important to me, being a part of the Crummer Family and giving back to the community.”

As he continues his ascent up the corporate ladder with the C-Suite in sight, he always remembers that one Pandora commercial that set him on this path.

“You can get your degree at any cookie cutter type of school, but if you don’t go to Crummer, you’re missing out on the level of touch, the level of rigor and interaction with students and faculty that really sets the Crummer program apart from the competition,” said Dr. Shoeibi.

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