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.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Throughout my 20+-year career, I’ve been dedicated to delivering outstanding operational performance through superior leadership. Currently, I am the Product Manager at SS&C Salentica. We provide a configurable Wealth Management tailored CRM solution for Registered Investment Advisors, Broker Dealers, Family Offices, Private and Institutional Wealth Managers, Trust Companies and Banks.
Why were you looking to get an MBA?
A little over three years ago, I was sitting in what felt like a pretty successful situation. I had a strong team that I trusted and who could get the job done. I had a CEO who was a leader and visionary and believed and supported me and my operational visions for the company.
I always had that desire to be a leader and to become a CEO one day. Back at that point in my career, I felt like I was beginning to hit a bit of a career wall. I was near the top of our company and not moving much further without some additional education. Whether or not my future growth would be with them or someone else, I knew I needed to learn more and grow as a leader, and the JWMI program seemed like a good idea and fit at the time.
What’s been your most rewarding experience in the program?
I think the ability to learn new material and then apply it in the same week was an advantageous aspect of the program. In my career, I was able to take and apply lessons learned weekly and see a real impact. It was always interesting to see how the courses seemed to be designed to support my career path.
For example, in my new career, I began to learn the company ins and outs by working with their implementation teams for the software. I was able to leverage the leadership courses and operational courses to make impacts on those teams. Then we were acquired and went from a company of 40 to 8,500. I was asked to take on a larger role in our product strategy division. Interestingly, the strategy and marketing and financial courses were well-timed with this new role, and so I had the tools to be successful and to further refine my skills. I am now working towards future roles and responsibilities in the company. JWMI has been there to remind me all along the way that I can and will succeed.
What strategies did you implement to manage job, family, life and an MBA?
As a JWMI student, it is critical to find an effective way to navigate between job, family, work and your new class schedule. I am married, have a full-time job that requires a decent amount of travel, and three children ranging from middle school to college. In addition to that, my wife is currently also pursuing a graduate degree. Finding time for the program and everything else in life can be challenging and yet there are ways to make the experience manageable and even enjoyable. For starters, gauge up front how much time you have to devote to the classes. If you cannot find 10-20 hours per week, then spend some time balancing your current schedule.
Also, pick the pace that works for you. It took me three years and a semester to graduate, and that worked very well with my schedule. Taking one class per term gave me the ability to dive deeply into the curriculum and then still have time to spend with my family and put in the time required for my job. I would devote a couple of hours in the evenings and some on the weekends as well studying. This gave me the opportunity to spend time with my family after work until it was time to study. I would also plan ahead when I knew there was a week with a larger assignment or paper due. In those weeks, I would typically spend more time over the weekend working to complete assignments.
What advice can you share with new students embarking on the Jack Welch MBA journey?
The advice I would give new students is to put everything you have into the program. Don’t halfway do it or accomplish the minimums. If you go that route, you will achieve a minimal benefit. The key to taking yourself to the next level is embracing the weekly topics and spending the time to deliver excellent posts and high-quality assignments. Challenge yourself to learn more and become a stronger leader. Be open to new ideas and take the time to interact and learn from your professors and classmates. I found that some of my greatest takeaways were pieces of knowledge gained from an individual in class that was in a very different industry or stage of life than me. I was able to get a completely different leadership perspective.
Finally, never give up. It will get challenging at times. Some weeks will be very time consuming but push forward. The end is well worth it, and you will be a better leader. You can accomplish this and become a winning leader!
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