10:33 AM

Marketing Master’s Degree Helps Mau Move Forward


Mergers, a recession, a gambling industry crushed by the pandemic – Bellevue University alumna Priscilla Mau has seen it all. In a career spanning more than a decade across four states, she knows thriving in the ever-changing world of marketing means embracing change and evolving her design expertise to the next level. She’s done just that, recently completing her Master of Science in Strategic Marketing; landing a new design role with a global infrastructure and agriculture company, Valmont Industries; and publishing a research report that will be presented at a conference this month.

Growing in Graphic Design

Mau has worked as a graphic designer for more than 12 years. She worked in a variety of industries in the early years, but began to carve out her path in the casino business. “My passion grew for marketing while I was working for Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. in Las Vegas, and it was also the company where I saw most of my design growth,” she said. “The casino industry relies highly on data and strategy to create unique experiences, and I wanted to know the ‘why’ behind the campaigns we were doing.”

As Mau continued her design career, she felt there was more to pursue. “Even though I found myself growing in my career, I also just felt something was missing,” she mentioned.

That something was her master’s degree. “It had been weighing on my mind for several years,” she said. When the pandemic forced her out of the casino industry and back to her home state of Nebraska, she decided to take on the challenge.

An MBA would be too broad for her as she was looking for a more tailored program. “There are not a lot of colleges that offer a Master of Science in Strategic Marketing,” she said. “In the summer of 2020, and at the height of the pandemic, I started researching. It didn't take long to make a decision. Bellevue University's program was ranked, and I could complete it in 18 months online.”

Going the Distance with Strategy

Mau began her master’s program around the same time as a remote contract position for a small ad agency in Orlando. “Since I was a contractor, I could make my own schedule, work around class and enjoy some free time,” she said.

The agency later hired her for a full-time role, causing her to work a little harder to find balance. She looked to her weight loss journey and completing 50 half marathons and two full marathons for motivation and inspiration. “Sometimes sacrifices have to happen, but knowing the end goal was in sight, I would say will power and my drive kept me going.”

Throughout the program, she was able to grow while also contributing her own experiences. In particular, she shared insight on target audiences and how they vary by geographic region. “I really felt my experiences of growing up on a farm in rural Nebraska and living in the cities of Las Vegas and downtown Chicago, gave me an excellent foundation, but also that unique perspective because I had lived both,” she explained.

The strategic marketing program is next-level, going far beyond the basics. “I would highly recommend this program because it focuses on marketing techniques and strategies in an ever-changing world of technology, social media and traditional media practices.”

After a positive, rewarding experience completing her degree, she decided to finally get the in-person Bellevue University experience by walking in graduation and meeting her professor. “Online learning is great because it allows flexibility but meeting the people behind the screen made it all more real,” she stated. “Sitting amongst all the graduates was inspiring, and just knowing all of what we had accomplished in a short period of time.”

Rising up for New Opportunities

Earning her degree has renewed her passion, and she’s inspired for what she’ll accomplish next. “I truly feel that I am a more well-rounded professional,” she explained.

In addition to achieving a master’s degree and a new position, she also published a research report that was accepted into Western Academy of Management. The report is being presented at WAM’s conference this month.

“I chose to research why consumers were using or choosing not to use curbside pickup,” she mentioned. “I created a 20-question survey on social media. Participation came from 16 states, and it was an adrenaline rush watching all the results come in. I had 16 individuals opt in for a focus group to continue my research, which I organized and conducted online. Overall, the experience was exciting and fun. I got to connect with so many individuals across the country.” 

Mau is looking forward to beginning her career with Valmont Industries, as well as resuming athletic training and travel in her free time. “I plan to complete my goal of doing a half marathon in every state,” she concluded. “Professionally, I cannot be more excited to join the team at Valmont Industries. It's exciting that I will be able to add a global company to my resume that strives toward excellence and is well-respected in the industry. Valmont has been in my family history for many years because we have used their agricultural products. So, it hits close to home.”