With iPads officially making their way into the Los Angeles Unified School District, education as a building block for the digital economy becomes more and more apparent. As CEO of a growing web design and SEO firm based in Los Angeles, Coalition Technologies founder Joel Gross manages an entire organization that helps businesses propel forward in this changing economy. After receiving his bachelor of arts in business administration from University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, Gross went on to become a business analyst for a startup company where his role evolved into head of SEO.

Education prepares future leaders for success

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Joel Gross, founder, Coalition Technologies (photo courtesy of Joel Gross)

Joel Gross, founder, Coalition Technologies (photo courtesy of Joel Gross)

Now that Gross manages his own company, he realizes how monumental his education has been for him. Gross says that UW’s business administration program required students to balance their curriculum between two disciplines for a more wholesome education. This meant balancing business classes with web development classes for Gross, which ultimately prepared him for corporate management. “Most SEO companies are run by two leaders: a business head and an SEO mind. My education allows me to fulfill both roles, giving Coalition Technologies a unified vision and direction,” says the Seattle-born entrepreneur.

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Organization and management go hand in hand

As a result of his education and internship experiences, the CEO believes strongly that organization is one of the biggest keys to his success and the success of his company. He says that everything at Coalition Technologies is organized with detailed processes that are recorded and tracked. “A university education is hectic, especially when paired with an internship, extracurricular activities, work study and personal projects,” recalls Gross. “I learned during these years the importance of organization and setting a strict, yet maintainable schedule.”

Never underestimate the value of internships

One of the most valuable learning experiences Gross gained during his collegiate years was pairing his education with an internship at Merrill Lynch where he was first introduced to the financial aspects of managing a business. “The financial component of my education helped me stay focused on one of the most essential aspects of being a CEO: managing the flow of capital,” says Gross. Running a company comes with a considerable amount of financial risk, so Gross thinks it’s important to be aware of the continuous exchange of currency, especially when it comes to managing and marketing to affluent clients like those from his internship.

When all is said and done, Gross attributes his success as a leader not just to his education but also to keeping the flow of communication open between employees and leadership. He actually encourages employees to share their thoughts and discuss inefficiencies since he believes that being able to adapt to such feedback is vital for growth, both personally and professional. “While hard work and perseverance drive the growth of this business, my basic business education was an essential building block,” says Gross. “Business owners can get the information they need to get started from books, but the university experience offers invaluable skills in communication and time management.”

Niki Payne is a freelance writer covering all things Entertainment in Los Angeles. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.

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