As vice president of brand strategy for Delta Dental, Missy Acosta oversees all aspects of communication and marketing, both internal and external. She had earned a college education years earlier and had served in multiple high-level positions before moving into her current role in 2007, but as time passed she believed there was a way to become more effective at her job.
She decided an MBA degree would best serve that purpose.
“I chose the MBA because I wanted to be better able to read and understand financials,” said Acosta. “I’ve also been in the executive ranks for a few years and I was at the point in my career where I was looking for greater opportunities, and I knew more education would help me.”
She went about the process of choosing a school methodically, gathering information from graduate programs throughout the Nashville area before making her decision.
“When I started looking into MBA programs, I made a spreadsheet of all the different opportunities in and around Nashville,” Acosta said. “Ultimately, Trevecca was affordable and convenient. It also offered an in-person option, which was something I really wanted. The fact that it was a Christian university was the icing on the cake.”
Acosta believes going back to school after 20 years in the field was a benefit because experience gave her a solid grasp on the practical application of many of the skills and concepts presented in the classroom.
In the years since she earned her MBA, she’s been able to see the big picture more clearly. That’s helped her as a leader and as a strategic thinker. Today, she still looks at situations through the lens of marketing and communications, but she’s also equipped to see what’s in the best interest of her company beyond her area of expertise.
Acosta has used her skills outside the workplace too, volunteering as the president of Cable, a women’s networking organization. In that role, she has helped a number of professional women adapt to a post-pandemic world. She is also the immediate past chair on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee, where she worked to give ‘bigs,’ ‘littles’ and their families a voice on the board and in the future of the organization.
Recently, Acosta’s determination, talent and leadership landed her on the Nashville Business Journal’s 2023 Women of Influence list. In her view, that is a confirmation that she is making a difference in both the corporate and nonprofit worlds.
“The notification about that recognition was one of those emails I had to read a couple of times to make sure I was understanding what I was reading,” said Acosta. “I am at a point in my life where accolades are not as important as feeling like I’m making an impact, but this recognition is validation that the impact is there.”
She believes her MBA has been important to her recent success, and she advises those considering it to think long term and take the leap.
“My advice to those considering an MBA is just to do it. I made a spreadsheet and did all kinds of analysis, and if I had waited until I felt completely sure I was going to have the time or the opportunity, I would still be looking at that spreadsheet,” Acosta said. “Find the program that works for you, whether it’s online or in person, and then stop thinking and just do it.”