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Thursday, December 2, 2021

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Michael Stelzner Michael Stelzner

Ask An Aztec: Michael Stelzner

This Aztec for Life gained valuable skills at SDSU that set him up for success.
By Ryan Schuler

Michael Stelzner graduated from San Diego State University in 1992 with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and then earned a master’s in the same area in 1995.

Following graduation, he worked in marketing at a local tech company and founded a creative agency focused on helping tech businesses create marketing materials, logo designs and trade show displays.

In 2009, Stelzner saw social media trends and started as an experiment. He began publishing free "how to" content focused on social media marketing.

Today, Social Media Examiner is the world's largest media company focused on social media marketing. It publishes original written content daily, produces two popular podcasts, broadcasts a weekly live video talk show, and hosts the industry's largest conference, Social Media Marketing World.

1. Tell us the highlights of your professional career. What are your proudest achievements?

I have achieved most of what I dreamed of as a student. I have launched multiple successful businesses, written two books, started multiple podcasts, and created websites that are read by millions. I think my biggest achievement has been the creation and growth of Social Media Marketing World, an annual conference that takes place at the San Diego Convention Center. Thousands of marketers from around the world attend this industry conference every year. It's exciting that I've been able to build it in the same town where I went to college.

2. What professional advice do you have for current SDSU students?

Try to get some experiences now that could help you decide on your future career or industry. Volunteer, join an organization, and get out there. You have the freedom to go wherever you want to go. Don't wait to contact someone you look up to. Start building relationships now. You never know, you might find someone who becomes the co-founder of your future business. And that future venture might be the next Facebook.

3. Why did you choose to attend SDSU?

To be honest, it had a lot to do with getting away from my parents, and I ended up at SDSU. I loved my experience and went on to get a master’s degree from SDSU. So you could say my crazy reason for coming to San Diego led to an amazing experience.

4. What was your proudest achievement while at SDSU?

I became the president of the Residence Hall Association after years of involvement in student leadership. It was amazing to lead a large group of other students spread across the campus of SDSU. I would say the leadership skills I picked up have become very instrumental to my professional career.

5. Who was your favorite professor and/or what was your favorite class?

If I had to pick one, it would be Brian Spitzberg. He was very encouraging. He suggested I submit journal articles and really taught me how to do analysis. He also was my thesis advisor.  

6. What experiences at SDSU helped you grow professionally?

My involvement with the Residence Hall Association was likely the single best experience that impacted my profession. I was involved with everything from publicity to helping us win national awards. I found amazing confidence in myself and realized I could accomplish anything I set my mind to.