EMBA Student Spotlight - The Educational Edge: A Conversation with Cohort 19’s Franchesta Marbury

Picture of Franchesta Marbury - Cohort 19
Sep. 11, 2021

Reflecting on her life and career before entering the Executive MBA program, Franchesta Marbury keeps coming back to a common phrase; “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

It’s not an excuse, she insists. Instead, the phrase is an invitation to seize the opportunities around you and fill the knowledge gaps that might be keeping you from climbing to the next level. All you have to do is embrace the phrase with an open mind.

“When I started this program, I was shocked by how many things I didn’t know,” Franchesta recalls. “I love that I’ve decided to do this, because the more I’m building my education, the more I’m building my confidence to try other things.”

Filling In Knowledge Gaps

Franchesta became a member of EMBA Cohort 19 in late 2020, entering the program with nearly 15 years of entrepreneurial experience under her belt. Whether it’s biopharmaceutical sales or owning and operating several Massage Envy franchise locations, she’s found success. There was just one thing that she felt was missing. 

“Because I’m an entrepreneur and opened my first business in 2007, a lot of people ask if I have a business degree, and I always chuckle,” Franchesta explains. “I have the grit and have been successful, but I need the educational background that will give me the edge.

“An Executive MBA is going to put you ahead by ten years. It’s a win-win wherever you are in your career.”

Choosing UNLV was easy for Franchesta for a couple of reasons. First, she’d already earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the university (to go along with a philosophy degree from California State University) and had launched her businesses in Las Vegas. More importantly, the EMBA curriculum was in line with what she wanted to learn. Marketing, strategy, data analysis, and finance were all knowledge areas that Franchesta wanted to improve.

“These courses will allow me to make better decisions for my business,” she says. “As a business owner, you think you know everything, and you feel confident, but when you learn something new, then you implement it and immediately see a difference, that’s when you’re like ‘Wow!’”

“I know more now than what I knew before the program, and this opens your mind to new ideas and new ways of leadership and [peer-to-peer] dynamics.”

Putting Knowledge to Work

Franchesta hasn’t wasted any time putting what she’s learned into practice. After forming a bond with a fellow cohort member while working on a project in their Managerial Accounting course, the two decided to join forces on a new business venture.

The project is still in its early stages, and Franchesta isn’t ready to reveal all of the details, but she says that everything the pair learns will be put toward making the business a success.

“We’re looking at space, we’re looking at whether we want it to be a franchise,” she gleefully says. “I would have never thought about this opportunity if it weren’t for my cohort and this class.”

Setting An Example

Franchesta is on track to complete the program in summer 2022. No matter what happens with her newfound business venture, she’s confident that her decision to return to school was not only the right one, but it will set an example for her four children and anyone considering an EMBA.

“My little ones, they’re proud of me, but at the same time, they’re like, ‘Why are you going back to school?’” she says. “I tell them it’s because I want to.

“Whether you’re new to business or you’ve been doing it for years, there’s a benefit for every single individual, and you should never stop learning, no matter how old or successful you are.