Written by: Jack Nolan, Digital Marketing Specialist, Power Equipment Direct
I finished my MBA from The Jack Welch Management Institute at Strayer University in March 2019, and I graduated as a Welch Scholar for the 2019 graduating class.
Obtaining my MBA was one of the greater highlights of my life, and I can’t even begin to list the number of great things I learned in the past three years at JWMI. After I finished my Capstone class, I started journaling the key takeaways from each of my classes, homework, and assignments at JWMI, and I will gather them all and write them in a blog post.
This post though centers around one of the best moments of my experience at JWMI—at the end of my Capstone class, I was selected to participate in a Live Q&A with Jack Welch, the man whose name is attached to my business school—the Jack Welch Management Institute. It was a Q&A between Mr. Welch and a select few of his Capstone students, those of us who were in our final course at JWMI.
I was extremely humbled and proud to be selected to ask Jack a question based on my long and often grueling 3-year journey at JWMI. Mr. Welch wanted to know the following from each of the guests on the call:
- What we learned about business from our time at JWMI
- What were our strengths and weaknesses as leaders
- A question on anything related to our industry, company, or anything related to our time at JWMI
What I Learned About Business
Jack began the Q&A session by wanting to hear what we learned about business from our MBA program, and then we could ask him any question that was relevant to us or our experience in the program.
I started this program 3 years ago because my career was at a standstill and I wanted to become a manager again – which I enjoyed when I was a young co-owner of a digital marketing agency. At the culmination of my time at JWMI, I think the most important thing I learned about business was how to be a leader and what the difference is between management and leadership. My goal moving forward now after this long journey is leadership – I want to constantly work to become a great leader and continually study leadership from scholars and titans of industry. JWMI has definitely helped build my foundation of leadership skills to lead, coach, and mentor team members, and I hope that I can continue to work on these skills and improve as a leader throughout my career.
My Strengths and Weaknesses as a Leader
Jack also asked what people have said that are my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. I said my strengths are I am a people person, I am an empathetic leader, and I make people feel like they are the only ones in the world at that individual moment. My weakness as a leader is giving bad feedback and delivering tough news. Jack told me that when you give tough feedback and bad news, you are doing that person the best favor in the world for their current and future career and development. What turns good managers into great managers is not feeling bad about giving bad feedback because you are helping someone with that tough feedback or bad news. I felt like Jack was talking directly to me with this feedback because he truly believes this statement, and I feel more confident in my ability to deliver tough news after speaking with Mr. Welch.
My Question for Jack Welch on Data Collection in Marketing
I have been in marketing for over a decade, and now more than ever, organizations are facing a backlash from consumers against the over-collection of user data. Our business analytics section of the Capstone class proved that the right amount of data collected can help a company identify the right strategy to implement for a winning move. I asked Mr. Welch if he had any suggestions about a happy medium between collecting enough customer data to make a winning move and over-collecting data which could lead to a consumer revolt like Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal?
Jack’s response was to make sure the data you are collecting is for a specific outcome – define what data you are collecting and what is it for. The data should be meaningful to help you, help the customer, and help the marketplace. If you have been getting data for data’s sake, that’s the problem.
Final Thoughts on Speaking with Jack Welch
I am very thankful for Jack Welch to take time and speak with my fellow Capstone students and me and talk about our experience at JWMI, our leadership profiles, and our question specifically for Jack. I am still to this day thrilled, proud, and excited to finish my MBA at the Jack Welch Management Institute. It has been a long journey getting my MBA—long enough that during my courses, my wife and I bought a house, our son Luke was born, and we have another baby due in August. I am extremely proud to have a student at The Jack Welch Management Institute, and I hope to become a great leader like Jack Welch in my career.