EMBA Alumni Profile: Jason West ’15

Jason West is founder and chief insight strategist at Synalysis Group. He talks about his EMBA experience, his accomplishments since graduating, and staying involved with LMU as an EMBA student mentor. Check out his LinkedIn profile.

What does your LMU EMBA education mean to you?

My EMBA journey provided me time for personal reflection on my life’s meaning — an experience that has changed me at the core. I considered what really matters to me — my deepest convictions, my hopes and who I want to become.

When I entered graduate school, I imagined a future version of myself… me, only better, stronger, and more self-assured… authentic. I’m reminded of a perspective Director Rich Stafford shared with us: “In short, we were already successful, accomplished professionals; yet many — if not most — of us were sleepwalking through our careers.”

I believe we are all given the same 24 hours to accomplish the mundane or the extraordinary. The further along I got in my career, I felt I needed to recalibrate my thinking and ambition so that my impact would fall upon the extraordinary.

How have you applied your EMBA in your career?

After graduating in 2015, I opened my own consultancy, Synalysis Group, which provides custom qualitative research design, moderation, strategy and analysis to media & entertainment, automotive and financial clients. As chief insight strategist, I help clients determine content, marketing, advertising and new product development strategies. I would not have taken this leap without my EMBA degree.

I’m also collaborating with a classmate on the launch of a pet management system called “Petlox,” an app that provides access to pet care services, groomers, boarding kennels and daycares so that pet owners can make appointments, get reminders and maintain their pet information in one, easy-to-find location. Petlox got its roots from our project during Dr. David Choi’s entrepreneurship summer course.

Why did you decide to become an EMBA mentor?

It was important for me to stay connected with LMU after graduation. The Mentorship Program seemed like the perfect way to do so. Ultimately, mentoring has the potential to impact not just my mentee’s life, but my own. It’s quite an adventure and I’ve learned a lot about myself. It’s easy to assume that the next crop of EMBA students need advice and counsel; while graduates have it all figured out. Yet as I spend time with my mentees, I always learn something new and beneficial.

What is your role as an EMBA mentor?

While I think it’s easy to be a mentor who is simply helpful; I want to be a mentor who is aligned with the transformative process that is the foundation of the LMU EMBA. It’s a relationship that I hope is life-changing for them, as I know it is for me.

What are typical issues that EMBA students face?

Time management is one of the most critical issues during the EMBA. I firmly believe that no one is inherently lazy. If you have a strong enough drive or purpose, you will find a way to succeed. Don’t try to achieve the impossible; seek work/life harmony, not balance. Manage any stress of this shift by analyzing choices in terms of tradeoffs.

Advice to EMBA students and final thoughts.

It may sound cliché, as all EMBA alumni have likely heard the expression, but “trust the process” rings true. The active learning of the LMU EMBA will empower you and instill in you a confidence in your own ability to change the world — to engage it and make it more just, and perhaps, more gentle. It’s never too late to develop a truer vision of the world and one’s place in it, both personally and professionally.

Jesuit education has historically been focused on the development of the whole person — mind, body and spirit. The Latin phrase associated with this Jesuit ideology is “cura personalis” (care of the person). Caring for the person means that faculty and administrators strive to know students personally — their backgrounds and life histories, their strengths and limitations, their struggles and hopes.

An EMBA education has certainly propelled me to act in new ways, and I couldn’t be prouder of my ongoing association with LMU. For me, LMU will always remind me of my own transformation.