Alumni Spotlight: Michael Straley

Michael Straley '11 proves you’re never too old to advance your career through higher education

This was 2008 and almost every time he would research an online graduate marketing degree people would talk glowingly about EMU’s fully online master's in integrated marketing communications in the College of Business.

Michael Straley

Michael Straley

I have a passion for communications and marketing and was looking for an online degree that successfully integrated pubic relations, media planning and marketing communications,” said Straley, who at the time was working as Director of Communications, Saint James School, MD. “I wanted to be at a school that really knew what they were talking about. I reached out to some very high-achieving EMU alumni and they had nothing but great things to say about the IMC program.”

'Be prepared to work'

Soon after enrolling in EMU’s IMC program in 2009, Straley found out just why alumni were so over the top in their praise: It’s a very challenging program.

There are a lot of projects, lots of research,” he said. “You come out of there in two years knowing how to build an effective comprehensive integrated marketing plan. I learned so much reading case studies and doing research. It tests you. You have to be dedicated. You have to be committed. You have to be prepared. You have to be serious about learning. I had tough professors who are great mentors. Every time I think of EMU, I smile because I think about all of the hard work and long hours I put in along the way.”

The hard work paid off.

Movin' on up

On March 18, 2013, Straley was hired as executive director for the Fulton County Medical Center Foundation in McConnellsburg, PA.

Lessons learned through online case studies, research and creating real-time integrated marketing plans pays off each day for Straley.

EMU’s in-depth IMC program gave me everything I was looking for in pubic relations, media planning and integrated marketing communications,” he said.

Best advice?

Straley, who earned his MS in 2011 at age 48 and a bachelor's in communications-journalism from Shippensburg University 26 years earlier in 1985, takes a thoughtful and pragmatic point of view.

"You're never too old to learn", he said. "If you want to grow professionally, EMU will give you that opportunity. If your passion lies within marketing and communications, EMU offers a quality degree and is second to none. It's helped me grow professionally. I attribute my success to this degree and I feel blessed and honored to be an EMU graduate."