Alumni Spotlight: Jeffrey Pollack
Dr. Jeffrey Pollack, an associate professor in the Department of Management Innovation and Entrepreneurship at NC State, received his master’s degree in organizational communication at NC State and later went on to receive his Ph.D. in Management at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2009. Dr. Pollack accumulated a wide variety of skills and knowledge through his several degrees and experiences in the world of business and entrepreneurship, but explained that his time here at NC State in the Department of Communication was a key piece that helped him get to where he is today.
First of all, I asked Dr. Pollack how his Master’s of Science from NC State helped him decide he wanted to go get his Ph.D. in management. He explained that he had no idea he wanted to pursue a Ph.D. He needed a secondary post graduate degree and went with the master’s in communication. He mentioned that when he was selecting a program he wanted to join, he was intrigued by NCSU’s program because it was new and was fascinated by the faculty leading the program. He also mentioned that he wanted to be in Raleigh and that this great area eventually helped him get a job.
After explaining the program, I asked Dr. Pollack about the master’s of science program here. I asked if he felt like the M.S. program is like an MBA, but with more of a focus on the human side more than the economic side. After thinking about it for a couple of seconds, Dr. Pollack said that he would not agree with that. He said that an MBA is much more technical and geared towards advancing in the corporate world. He pointed out that an MBA would be for someone looking more on the business side and would not recommend it for someone unless they are hoping to move up the corporate ladder on the business side. Someone pursuing an MBA would want to do it directly for career related reasons. He said that it is much more of an academic degree, and those who are looking to eventually obtain their Ph.D. in any form of communication should definitely look to obtain this beforehand. This offers gain for anyone from almost any position or field and could provide for anyone, regardless of salary or career. Dr. Pollack then went on to mention that he loves the topic of communication, and decided he wanted to study interpersonal communication to further his understanding and would recommend this degree to anyone who wanted to become a much better communicator, even if they are not pursuing a Ph.D.
After learning about Dr. Pollack’s educational background, I asked him why he decided to become a professor in management over communication. Giving it some thought, he mentioned that was an interesting question, and credited his wife who received her Ph.D. in 2006. He thought what she was doing was really cool and in between his masters and Ph.D., built up landscaping and financial practices and figured his experiences better tailored him toward teaching business practices.
Finally, I asked Dr. Pollack about how he feels NC State has changed since he attended the school. Outside of all of the changes due to COVID-19, Dr. Pollack mentioned that NC State has gotten a lot better at telling their story. He said twenty years ago, it was hard to figure out what the school did for others around their community. Now, State has done a great job with spreading the news of all the things that students and staff of every department do for communities around the world.