Here’s the challenge: Write a single page about yourself, outlining your goals and values. Next, whittle that page to just one paragraph.

You’re not done yet, Sydney Sherman tells her Binghamton University School of Management (SOM) students. Now, take that paragraph and boil it down to a single sentence.

What’s left, Sherman says in her strategic brand management course, should guide how you make important decisions about promoting your personal and professional brand.

As a customer relationship manager at the New York City–based luxury real estate brokerage SERHANT, Sherman knows brand management relies on the ability to craft a strategic decision and communicate your goals in a way that invites others to buy into the concept. For the past three semesters at Binghamton University, Sherman has channeled the expertise she’s honed throughout her career into a virtual class designed to pass those lessons on to the next generation of marketers and business professionals.

“I tell my students we need to think about how the market’s perception equates to how we want our brand to be perceived, because as marketers, we need to know this process to make strategic decisions about our company’s brand,” Sherman says. “In today’s world, we’re also our own personal brands, so I tell students that’s something they’ll have to really take this time early on to establish and create, because their careers are going to be built off that.”

Sydney Sherman graduated from Binghamton University’s School of Management. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

Sydney Sherman graduated from Binghamton University’s School of Management. Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.


During her time as an SOM student, Sherman built the foundation for her career by taking advantage of networking opportunities. On campus during her undergraduate and graduate years, she held various positions with SOM Graduate Advising before landing a full-time job as its marketing and recruitment coordinator.

“It really built my passion for marketing and education,” says Sherman, who enjoyed that experience so much that she returned to Binghamton after earning her MBA in 2018 to lead periodic leadership lectures at the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

During those lectures, Sherman discussed how the leadership concepts taught in SOM could be applied to the progression of students’ pharmaceutical careers.

The chance to share her expertise through those lectures proved to be so enjoyable, she says, that a later invitation to help cover a class in strategic brand management in SOM was too good to pass up.

“Throughout that first semester I was teaching, I got so much great feedback from the students. I loved having the ability to come in still relatively early on in my career and share my experience, while also introducing new perspectives,” Sherman says.

Much of Sherman’s day-to-day duties at SERHANT involve figuring out how to generate leads for agents and managing those relationships effectively enough to foster repeat business with clients in a way that feels personal as the company continues to grow.

Her expertise in building strong professional connections also works to her students’ advantage when she invites marketing experts to speak in the virtual classes. Sherman lays the groundwork with her students by teaching the broad concepts, then her guest speakers reinforce those concepts by explaining how they might be applied in different professional settings.

“Not everything in brand management has solutions you can look up in a textbook,” she says.

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One of the biggest lessons Sherman learned in the early stages of her career was that strategic decisions in brand promotion are often made without having all the information you want at your fingertips.

She tries to pass this challenge on to her students when assigning project briefs, leaving chunks of information out to test their ability to craft a strategic decision. Not only do they have to back their decision up, she says, but they must do so in a way that’s marketable.

Opportunities to share these types of lessons as an SOM graduate hopefully reinforce to students they have what it takes to handle any challenge in their career, Sherman says.

“If by the last day of the semester my student can come to me and say ‘I’m ready to go and I feel more confident in the skills I have as a strategic decision-maker, then I feel I’ve done my job.”

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