Alumnus Spotlight: Samuel Zanone
Whether you study engineering, science, the liberal arts or mathematics, after you graduate, you’re most likely going to go to work for a company.
That’s why the online Management master's program at Stevens Institute of Technology was appealing to Samuel Zanone.
Zanone, who studied chemistry at Montclair State University, said he felt the Management degree would help him further his career as he moves toward his long-term goal of becoming a perfumer. He completed his degree in 2018.
“Management is a key to understanding your part in a company,” said Zanone, a laboratory manager at Phoenix Fragrances LLC. “You manage people, you manage your budget and you must know how to cater toward the people you are selling to — whether that’s internal, like salespeople, your managers or your subordinates, or an external client.”
His technical background made Zanone comfortable in an environment like the School of Business at Stevens, with its emphasis on the role analytics, data and technology play in solving complex problems. But its commitment to an enriching virtual experience through the StevensOnline platform was just as important.
“Stevens offered a unique opportunity to challenge myself and move forward in my career,” he said. “I was able to attend my courses after work without feeling the need to rush to a campus. It also allowed me to refine my skills in becoming a more efficient manager.”
Zanone’s day-to-day responsibilities include handling all functionality at the three laboratories within Phoenix’s facility, which handle everything from data analysis, to client orders, to quality control.
“My job also includes observing my team and collaborating with them to improve efficiency in the labs,” he said, which also involves suggesting improvements and ensuring equipment is up to date. “Managing laboratory people is completely different than the interactions with sales, customer service, and so on — and it definitely can be a challenge.”
Meaningful discussions in real time
Like many professionals, Zanone was skeptical that an online degree would meet his needs — especially studying something like management, where engagement with faculty and classmates often is limited to offline lectures and interacting on message boards or group chats. While he said he would have enjoyed more face-to-face work with other students, Stevens does run its online business classes in real time, which allows for more meaningful discussions.
“Having interaction with my colleagues is a critical part of learning how to manage,” Zanone said. “But the interactions between myself and my colleagues online were interesting, even through the online forums. It’s a great way to learn the communication skills required for today’s society, where not everything needs to be in person.”
Zanone said he enjoyed each of his professors, so it’s difficult for him to name a most influential course, but he said Marketing Management, with Prof. Gary Lynn, was a favorite.
“The course helped me understand how influential different marketing tools can be fundamental in getting a project off the ground,” he said. “Even at my level, understanding marketing is critical.”
Zanone enjoys his work, but said he is focused on his goal of becoming a perfumer. Perfumers are responsible for developing scents for different categories — home care, body and personal care, air care, and fine fragrance. Perfumers need to understand both chemistry and how to interact with customers, in order to deliver the most unique product to them.
Previously, in his work at Firmenich, he was a perfumer’s assistant who put together formulas for various products. He expects his Stevens degree to help him become a full-fledged perfumer.
“Perfumers are creators — so to succeed, they need to understand their clients and the client’s end consumer,” he said. “They also must recognize the most recent fashion and fragrance trends and projecting future trends while maintaining budgets and staying within safety guidelines.”
His understanding of those more tactile skills came from his master’s degree, along with a sense of how to become a more effective leader.
“My Stevens lessons gave me ideas on how to work within a team to manage expectations of upper management,” he said. “Even though I am relatively young and new to my company, I am already beginning to interact with clients. We need to know how to handle discussions, briefs and manage client expectations — or we will not continue to grow at the rate we are right now.”