Executive Master’s in Business Administration Students Pitch Growth Strategies for Zoom

On Saturday, March 19, Hagerty Lounge set the stage for a much-anticipated event. Eight Executive Master’s in Business Administration (EMBA) student teams spent the last quarter working on their capstone project—recommending growth strategies for Zoom Video Communications, Inc. 

The Chief Technology Officer of Zoom, Brendan Ittelson, came to Saint Mary’s to serve as a judge after holding several Zoom meetings with the students to pose a strategy question for the class and address student inquiries about the company. 

In their opening remarks, VP for Mission Frances Sweeney noted that Zoom was a gift to the world during the pandemic, and Dean Elizabeth Davis humorously called herself the “Zoom Dean.” Both commended the partnership between SEBA and Zoom, highlighting how engagement with stellar corporations like Zoom provides a transformational learning experience for our EMBA students.

The competition was intense, presenting a broad spectrum of innovative strategies with detailed execution plans and financial projections. Also serving as a judge, VP for Strategic Partnerships and Advancement at Saint Mary’s Patrick Carew, found the strategy pitches fascinating and asked pointed questions. Teams answered with confidence gained from substantial research. The two other judges, SEBA’s Associate Dean Kim Clark and Zoom’s Senior Product Manager John Tu, enthusiastically engaged with the teams about their ideas. 

The room burst with loud cheers when Ittelson announced three winning teams. Winning or not, the class felt that the process of integrating multiple business disciplines and applying strategy theories and frameworks to a dynamic, world-famous company generated enormous learning and insights. Professor Yuan Li, the instructor who brought Zoom onboard, remarked on the high caliber of the students, “Working with Zoom is the culmination of their 18-month journey in the program; their creativity and hard work certainly impressed our Zoom partner.” 

EMBA student Marissa Trambley said, “It was an honor ‘consulting’ for Zoom, and we hope they found it as valuable as we did. We look forward to seeing what they unveil in the next six to 12 months.” EMBA student Tina Fernandez added, “It is a great experience that I will never forget.”