A Celebration of MBA Faculty Who Go Above & Beyond

A Celebration of MBA Faculty Who Go Above & Beyond

There was likely at least one teacher who left a profound impression; one teacher who fostered an interest you didn’t know you had or gave you the confidence to try something new. The truth is, teachers have profound impacts on their students, many that extend far beyond the classroom.

When prospective students evaluate online MBA programs,  they often question the dynamics of the faculty/student relationship. JWMI’s top-ranked online MBA faculty and the relationships they form with students are unique across academia. They are passionate executives from top companies around the world who are hired based on their ability to engage and mentor students.

As an adult learner, you juggle school in addition to other demands, like work and family life. There will always be unplanned challenges that you navigate, a move, a job change, or even a global crisis. The best instructors understand that there are many types of learners, each with individual life circumstances, and they are well-equipped to support them both in the classroom and out of it.

JWMI’s MBA faculty are the best of the best. They go beyond “the expected” to deliver the highest value to students (and even their extended family).

Supporting students is the primary value woven throughout the mission-based charter JWMI professors created and are held to each quarter. For some, that support may come from instilling confidence for others by providing goals, tools, resources, or even mentorship.

Here are just a few of the more extraordinary ways in which Jack Welch MBA faculty go above and beyond:

“I taught him to sail.”

John Bennett 
Professor: Financial Management II & Saving Money, Saving Lives

Hale Milano was a former Finance II student who was active Army (stationed in Hawaii) during our class. We stayed in contact when he transitioned to the civilian sector. At that time, he was able to leverage his military background and JWMI MBA to land a job with Accenture Consulting in the Seattle office. As the job involved extensive weekly travel, Hale realized his dream of purchasing a sailboat and living on Seattle waterfront might actually be attainable. There was only one problem though… Hale did not have a background in boating, nor had he ever sailed. With my background in sailing, Hale reached out to me to get ideas on the type of boat, size of boat, etc. He eventually found one north of Seattle in Marysville but needed to sail it through the Puget Sound around Bainbridge and Whidbey Islands and through the very crowded shipping lanes of Elliot Bay (lots of Ferry traffic). So we set sail on an adventure we referred to as “Chasing Winds on the Puget Sound.” Over the 8-hour trip, Hale quickly picked up the art and skills of sailing (or at least enough for sunset sails and safely navigating local waters).”

Bridging the Online Classroom & Building Networks

Even though JWMI is online, the reality is there are still opportunities to connect face-to-face or make connections with fellow students, fellow alumni, and professors outside of the online classroom. Here are a few examples:

Dr. Chinue Uecker, DBA, MBB 
Professor: Operations, Leadership in the 21st Century

“On one of our Operations Management (OM) Course huddles, Dean of Faculty & Students, Mike Zeliff shared that there was a student who was taking OM and lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). What a small world! Dr. Mike Laverty shared my information, and to my delight, the student and I exchanged texts, spoke on the phone, connected via email, and finally met up at the very first JWMI Networking Night in the USVI. It’s been an incredible experience learning more about her and hearing about her JWMI experiences and what she loves about the program. I’m so thankful to have a new friend on the island and looking forward to meeting up again!”

Cheryl Seminara, Ph.D.
Professor: Organizational Change & Culture

“I had a student at the tail end of one semester who shared that she was distraught, she needed to move from California to Texas quickly, but she didn’t know anyone in Texas. By coincidence, Travis Baldwin, SAAB Executive Board Chairman, was living in the same town she was moving to. I connected the two of them, and they met up at one of the upcoming JWMI Connect Networking Nights. The JWMI Community provided an immediate connection in her new hometown. Not only did she start to build her network, but Travis became a coach and guide throughout the remainder of her MBA program.”

John Shaw, CMA 
Professor: Financial Management I

“Over three years ago, fellow professor Jeff Brooks set up our first networking event in Cincinnati; we started small with three students attending. As a numbers guy, I take pride in seeing our local networking attendance grow. We host and attend these events because there is a sense of community at JWMI; it’s almost like a family. Even though we aren’t physically in the same space when we’re in the classroom, there is still a desire to have a connection, and our local networking events allow for that. What is truly remarkable is that two of the three students who attended our very first event, continue to come to each subsequent one. For students who I’ve had in my class, it’s a wonderful experience to be able to put a face to a name. For those I don’t know, it allows us to get to know each other; I’ve had a few students request me as their JWI530 professor, simply because we formed a bond from our networking event. These events help to break down the typical “formality” that comes from a student/teacher relationship and allow the student to jump into class and feel comfortable raising their hands if they need clarification or have a concern.”

“I helped my student’s sister get necessary medical care.”

Dan Hecht
Professor: Leadership

“I reached out to a student who hadn’t posted his weekly discussion question for two consecutive weeks. I just wanted to check-in, not to admonish him for being late, but to make sure he was okay. He shared that he was traveling to be with family. His sister and brother-in-law were vacationing in Mexico and involved in a moped accident. The injuries were so severe that they were both airlifted to Miami.

I stayed in touch with this student, who shared that his sister was doing much better and no longer hospitalized but having a great deal of anxiety, worrying about her husband and living temporarily in a strange place with no access to trusted doctors, etc. I was formerly the CEO of a company called MDVIP, which is a doctor’s network across the country. I asked the student if he’d like me to connect his sister with a trusted doctor in the area she could talk to about her anxiety or any other health issues as a result of the accident. He was grateful for the help, and the doctor got in touch with the sister the same day. She received guidance about her husband’s prognosis and got the necessary medical care for herself.

“I open my Rolodex.”

Jason Gateas, Ph.D. 
Professor: Healthcare Concentration

“A JWMI MBA can open doors, but even so, I always go out of my way to help both current and past students network and make connections. I have over 16,000 LinkedIn connections (80% in healthcare) and among those, over 2,000 connections with top healthcare recruiters in the United States.

I often provide career coaching and assistance because I believe that we are stronger through networking. Recently, a student reached out for some interview advice. He had an upcoming interview with a very well-known healthcare company. While he had already done impressive research on this company, he wanted to see if I had additional insight he had overlooked, something that could help differentiate him from the other candidates. Not only did I help him prepare for his interview, sharing observations and questions that could be worthwhile, but I also sent a note to the recruiter and recommended this 4.0-GPA student for the position.

While my job is to ensure a student has a mastery of the content I’m teaching, I also want to ensure that he or she can utilize that outside of the classroom. In many cases, opening my “Rolodex” and sharing my contacts can help support their successes long beyond my class.”


In honor of Faculty Appreciation Week, we cheer our distinguished faculty who continually go above and beyond to put our students first.