Save-A-Lot executives did more than listen to a capstone project from online MBA students at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. The supermarket chain created a new position and offered it to team member Anthony Botos, OMBA ’17.
“The Smith MBA program gave my team and me the skills needed to sift through a lot of data and make connections between the information and the company’s strategy,” Botos said.
The presentation in April 2017 was part of the Action Learning Project, a graduation requirement that allows online MBA candidates to apply the knowledge and skills they acquire at Smith to address real-world corporate challenges.
Botos and his teammates chose to focus on Save-A-Lot, which operates more than 1,300 stores across 36 states. The project addressed challenges associated with the marketing and merchandising of Save-A-Lot’s private label products.
As director of distribution for Save-A-Lot at the time of the project, Botos took great interest in the success of the capstone project. “The project was a top priority for me because it had my name on it, and I wanted it to bloom,” he said.
The day after Botos and his team presented their marketing plan to the Save-A-Lot executive board, the company had a change in leadership. The new CEO wanted to transform the company’s relationship with its customers, and one board member recommended that he hear the Smith School presentation.
As a result, the company flew Botos to Save-A-Lot’s headquarters in Earth City, Mo., where he presented the capstone project to the CEO in a one-on-one meeting.
Shortly afterward, the CEO created a new Customer Experience department and offered Botos the position of Director of Customer Experience. “It speaks a lot to what we did in the project,” Botos said about the job offer.
Botos has been with Save-A-Lot for more than 10 years. Through a series of promotions, he became director of distribution. Then he decided to pursue his interest in marketing.
As a father, husband and full-time employee, Botos needed an MBA program with flexibility. He researched his options and chose Smith’s online MBA program with a concentration in marketing.
After two months as Director of Customer Experience, Botos was promoted again to Vice President of Distribution in Missouri.
“My favorite part of my job is developing a positive culture in the organization,” Botos said. “This means connecting, interacting with and motivating people throughout the organization.”
— Mamayaa Opoku, Smith School communications writer