You know that overwhelming feeling of joy you get when you accomplish a great feat like finishing a big proposal or getting a promotion? At JWMI we get that feeling too whenever our students have a win. We love to celebrate with them and are proud to see what is possible with a JWMI education and Jack Welch MBA.
We recently sat down with MBA candidate Kenzie Donovan in Chicago, IL. She arrived well prepared with copious notes on the program and eager to share her experiences. Within just one year of starting her JWMI education, Kenzie received a promotion to the director level at the medical device and pharmaceutical regulatory compliance company she works for just outside of Chicago. She credits this achievement to her education which gave her more confidence in providing candid opinions on leadership and strategy during high-level executive meetings, thoughts she previously kept to herself.
Kenzie’s path to the Jack Welch Management Institute was not a direct line. Working for the same company since completing her undergraduate degree, she found herself in a manager role within business development. She had a passion for her work and was looking for a way to bring a new perspective and polish to her role.
With two sisters who earned their MBAs full-time from nationally ranked programs, Kenzie recognized that a graduate education was the logical next step but did not want to leave her career to pursue an MBA via the more traditional route taken by her sisters.
JWMI’s program provided the flexibility that enabled her to keep her management responsibilities and work toward a promotion. But as with any big decision, Kenzie still had reservations, specifically about the online learning model. In college, Kenzie was the type of student that would stay after class and attend a professor’s office hours. As she transitioned to a virtual classroom, she wasn’t sure whether she would have the same access to faculty and get the support she needed. However, she was “blown away” in her first course when her professor called to welcome her, and followed up during the semester, seeking her feedback on how he could improve her experience. Kenzie was also quick to utilize a JWMI writing coach, which aided her transition back into the classroom and improved her communications skills.
Kenzie adapted to the online format quickly, forming study groups and rapidly feeling at home among her peers. These new relationships quickly became her favorite part of the program. Helping to build her confidence along the way, her classmates encouraged her and provided candid feedback. And she appreciates the diversity of the student population noting that a recent project group included IT, legal and finance professionals whose backgrounds complimented her consulting skill set. But perhaps one of the biggest surprises for Kenzie is the ease in which she is forming friendships outside the classroom as well.
Not only have her networking and communication skills improved, but the program provided Kenzie with new-found business and leadership skills which she adeptly applies within her organization. In her marketing class, for example, Kenzie analyzed trends and developed a marketing strategy that she then shared with her managers at work. This project not only brought company-wide awareness to some of the key trouble areas for its sector but also clearly laid out strategies for future success. The real-world applicability of her coursework helps fuel her enthusiasm for the next class.
“By simply starting an incentive program, we are working on revitalizing an underperforming part of our business, I had something to do with that, and it feels great.”
Kenzie also notes that Jack Welch’s involvement in JWMI education is evident and infectious. She keeps a copy of the eight essential leadership lessons from his book “Winning” on her desk at work. And when asked her favorite piece of advice from Jack, she responded: “Never underestimate the power of a high five.”
Kenzie anticipates graduating in May of 2018, but it’s obvious she’s already seeing a return on her JWMI education. And Kenzie is winning in her personal life as well. She and her fiancé Matt are celebrating a June 2017 wedding and a move to Milwaukee. We look forward to seeing what comes next for such a passionate and talented leader!