Each week, JWMI profiles students and alumni in its new featured series “Winning Voices.” Learn about our diverse community and what sets our program apart from those who have experienced it. For more great “Winning Voices” content, click here.
Deputy Director of Client Services
Hire Heroes USA
U.S. Army Veteran
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB RESPONSIBILITIES AT HIRE HEROES.
I oversee and manage the execution of our service delivery strategy, ensuring that our programs are efficient, effective, and scalable as we provide career coaching services to thousands of transitioning veterans and military spouses annually into the civilian workforce.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHERS LOOKING TO TRANSITION OUT OF THE MILITARY?
As a veteran working daily with the military community, the best advice I can provide is as follows:
- never stop learning, and
- never stop collaborating
The moment you stop doing either—you’ve peaked. As a veteran, you have a unique head start, instilled during your service. All the leadership experiences, mission preps, deployments, and diverse group settings have already put you ahead of the curve. You will quickly see an ROI as you progress through your MBA program.
And when you can take your military skills, MBA learnings, and combine that with the civilian knowledge in the workplace—you have all the ingredients to accelerate professionally.
DID THE MBA HELP YOU AS YOU TRANSITIONED FROM THE MILITARY? IF SO, IN WHAT AREAS?
I found the Jack Welch MBA program provided me with a better comprehension of many business concepts relevant within my current position. Furthermore, I gained increased confidence in my decision-making skills. I now am more acutely aware of elements I very likely would have overlooked or not even considered prior to pursuing my MBA and which now help to inform my decisions.
How has the JWMI curriculum helped you in your career?
If confidence were measurable, the impact would be off the charts. Previously, I would have pointed to a lack of experience as a reason for just not knowing a solution. I’ve found now that I approach problems from a completely different perspective. I’m able to recall feedback from my classmates and case studies and use that to help inform my actions.
Since beginning the program, I was promoted to my current role. I used the opportunities in the course to reflect on our company and processes as ways of getting feedback before even pitching ideas internally—quite a unique experience.
Did you find the curriculum was immediately applicable?
YES, YES, YES! Nearly every discussion essay or assignment I wrote in this course was from my own experience using my current organization and role within it. I was able to think critically about my organization, the teams, my role, and the future of each and then use that knowledge to inform change. The curriculum gave me a better understanding of all the moving parts that make up a company and allowed me to think from a CEO’s mindset.
Why were you looking to get an MBA?
Working in a competitive industry, an MBA is essential to differentiate yourself. Especially within the employment sector, where I see first-hand the many benefits of graduate education. I wanted to earn an MBA to progress in my knowledge base and to be a role model for the veterans and military spouses I coach on their transitions. Plus, who doesn’t want to be an example for their children?
Looking back at what you thought about an online program when you first embarked, what was your overall impression now?
I am beyond satisfied in JWMI and the online program.
During my undergraduate experience, I often had to go to campus for class. Those days were long and forced me to adjust my work/life balance. At JWMI, any adjustments I made were in my own time. I was able to succeed professionally, make time for my personal and family commitments, and with minimal disruption, earn my MBA. It honestly went by so fast at the beginning of each week that most weeks, I was reviewing content in advance.
I met many interesting people and had great conversations, both online and over the phone, which takes the content application even further as you examine other industries and roles. The networking piece opened up quite a few professional relationships that keep growing every day, and the pay-off is endless.
How did you navigate the demands of your job, family, and work as a student?
Well, I made the most of the breaks between courses, that’s for sure! I also managed each week the same for each class—focusing on getting my requirements done by the middle of the week, allowing me the time at the end of the week to respond to classmates and begin reading ahead. I set aside the same two-hour window each evening and spent just a few minutes each morning reviewing feedback. I found that the schedule allowed me to reflect on the feedback and helped me leverage it in future readings discussion posts.
Please share any advice for new students embarking on the Jack Welch MBA journey.
You don’t know what you don’t know. Also, save everything—you’ll find that the courses intersect in your final Capstone course, and you can reference your early learnings at the end! I’d highly recommend targeting one company or industry that you’re genuinely passionate about and leveraging that passion as your source for learning in the Capstone. For me, I focused my real-world studies on Hire Heroes USA, which encouraged me to dive deeper and learn more about the nonprofit space and our business, which I genuinely believe made me a better leader in the industry.
As a Strayer undergraduate, what do you think would have been important to know before starting this program? What advice do you have for fellow Strayer undergrads looking to get ahead with an MBA?
Know your career trajectory. The Jack Welch MBA will provide you a map to achieve your goals. If you’re motivated to move up the corporate ladder, to make yourself a better candidate for leadership roles, or even to excel in your current position, the Jack Welch MBA program will give you the confidence and skillset to make it happen.
The program is full of networking opportunities—whether in the online classroom, socially, or at live local networking events—take advantage of them from the start.
The results and ROI from the program begin from the moment you first log on. You can use your career and your professional experience to share how you would (or did) apply the current week’s topic. All along, you receive feedback from your peers/classmates, all of who are professionals in their industries and who provide unique perspectives.
However, there is continuity between the Strayer undergrad program and the Jack Welch MBA program. The online format, Blackboard technology, and term length are all the same as in your undergrad courses. And similarly, you must set aside time to consume the content. Think through your responses, and then post and provide feedback to your peers. Having a few hours a day to set aside on a routine basis helped me manage both my work/life balance and set me up for success.
Connect with Johnathan Severs on Linkedin
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