As a product manager for telematics at Cox Automotive Mobility, Jordan Smith has recovered more than 250 stolen vehicles over the past two years. He started as a platform engineer fresh out of high school at a startup called Clutch, a vehicle subscription service that Cox acquired in 2018. Smith has taken a leadership role in integrating Clutch’s technology into Cox—namely the ability to extrapolate data from vehicles to inform individual owners and fleets of their automobiles’ overall health, location, and environmental surroundings. Smith technically has been working as a product manager for nearly two years, but an official promotion hinged on one thing: completing his bachelor’s.
Smith earned an associate degree from Perimeter College. Transitioning to Robinson’s Online B.B.A. program as a marketing major made it possible for him to continue working and finish school.
Throughout the program, Smith has tackled projects addressing issues he faced on the job. In Kofie Dadzie’s International Business course, he wrote a comprehensive assessment of how Cox could partner with a vendor to support the company’s hardware needs.
“I was able to tie what I learned back to the problems I was solving for executive-level leaders,” Smith said. “Instead of recalling the concepts later down the road, I immediately put them into practice.”
Even though Smith didn’t perform well in Buyer Behavior with Jennifer Daniels, the course was one of his favorites. A practicing growth strategy consultant, Daniels offers students a glimpse into the real world and teaches them how to get inside consumers’ minds. Smith is a tech-savvy right brain, and Daniels’ class filled a substantial knowledge gap.
“Building a successful product involves understanding end users so you can develop branding and showcase experiences they find engaging,” Smith said. “That’s a piece of the product picture I didn’t have.”
One might think branding is Smith’s longstanding forte: he recently was nominated to become a Cox brand advocate, a volunteer role involving community outreach. Last month, the brand advocate team built an interactive outdoor classroom for the Kindezi Schools, a group of three city of Atlanta schools with consciously small, diverse class sizes. Smith also has traveled across the U.S. as part of Cox’s “34 by 2034 Act to Impact Tour.” With the goal of empowering 34 million people to live more prosperous lives by 2034, the initiative features one-day events in 10 cities. In partnership with organizations including Boys & Girls Club of America, Girls Inc., and Inside the Outdoors Foundation, Cox employees are building STEAM education kits and completing community accessibility and beautification projects.
Smith isn’t the type to rest on his laurels. He’s exploring opportunities to earn Project Management Professional and ScrumMaster certifications, which will enable him to communicate advanced technical concepts to executives. And, in good faith he’ll graduate from Robinson this summer, Smith’s boss already finalized that promotion.
“Without the option to take online courses, there’s no chance I would’ve been able to do what I’m doing,” Smith said. “Balancing a job and classes is difficult, but it helps you speak and learn from experience, and ultimately propel your career.”